By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
This may feel like a slight dance around reality, but a losing streak isn’t always cured by a victory.
I mean, it’s still the ultimate solution, but if you can’t get a victory, you want to make sure that your effort and the will to do things the right way — or at least closer to the standard you’ve set for yourself — is there. And I don’t think anybody could have a single complaint about that when it comes to Boston’s 3-2 loss to the league-best Capitals on Wednesday night.
Let’s just go back to their Nov. 16 head-to-head at TD Garden. I mean, that was a straight-up demolition derby kind of night, and the only reason it was even somewhat close was thanks to the 42-save performance from Jaroslav Halak. Washington pounded the Bruins all over the ice, won almost every battle, and had the Bruins gasping for air in their own end. On Wednesday, with the setting flipped to DC, the Bruins actually looked ready for the physical challenge of the Caps.
Zdeno Chara had no issue trying to match Tom Wilson’s tone-setting style (video down below), the Bruins did not shy away from a battle, and took the hits necessary to make plays. They even appeared more than capable of goading Wilson into a goofy penalty, and I don’t think it was any coincidence that this was perhaps Wilson’s quietest game against the Bruins in a year plus.
“We’re in the game, we’re right there,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We very easily could have won the game. Two or three things probably changed that. In terms of a 60-minute effort, I think we’re getting close to where we want to be.”
Really, this game was lost because of one iffy penalty against Chris Wagner, a disallowed goal via coach’s challenge, and a defensive-zone breakdown that allowed the best defenseman in the league to step up and blast one through Halak. As Cassidy said, they were in this game the whole way. Correct the little mistakes and this one could’ve been a much different story.
It’s a step that the Bruins are indeed working their way out of it. Now they just need the points to come with it.
Here are some other thoughts and notes from a 3-2 final in Washington…
Bruins give Anders Bjork a twirl with DeBrusk-Krejci combo
The reality of the B’s situation at right wing may be hitting Cassidy.
In a year that’s seen Karson Kuhlman, Danton Heinen, Brett Ritchie, and more play to the right of Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci, Cassidy finally threw Anders Bjork with his second-line duo towards the end of the third period of Wednesday’s loss.
Now, this is significant because a) Cassidy has been pretty open about thinking that Bjork is better on the left and his desire to keep him there. Cassidy has backed off this in recent weeks, saying that Bjork has playing well to earn his trust and make him feel comfortable with the idea of putting him on the right if need be. And b) it indicates that the Bruins are sort of running out of internal options they view as viable long-term fits.
Let’s see if that sticks in Florida.
These offside challenges are killing us all… but they’re not going away either
We’ve been over the pros and cons of offside reviews to actual painful degrees this season. I swear the Bruins have had a billion goals taken away by way of the offside review this season. And every single time, the infraction has had zero point zero to do with the goal scored. It is a nonsensical, laughably stupid rule that’s repeatedly swiping otherwise good goals off the board. It becomes even sillier when you realize that the NHL has been on a decade-long hunt to boost scoring. (The dumbest league.)
But I think I’m officially a broken man by the whole system, as I’ve just accepted that this is our new reality, and that the Bruins need to just operate with a “GTFB” mindset when it comes to zone entries. I hope the league is happy with this process!
Zdeno Chara and Tom Wilson drop gloves in legit heavyweight bout
And now, two very large, angry men swinging fists at one another.