By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins didn’t do Jaroslav Halak any favors in Sunday afternoon’s round-robin opening 4-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
But in a game where the Bruins flat-lined for extended stretches — and didn’t break through the Flyers’ Carter Hart until the final 1:09 of the second period — Bruce Cassidy’s Bruins could have used an extra save or two from their 1-B netminder.
“We needed more stops, obviously,” Cassidy admitted. “The breakdowns… they were all good goals, good shots. Maybe the second one got through him. I don’t know, it looked like a screen from Lauzon. Other than that, they were good shots.
“But obviously when we’re only putting up one goal ourselves, we needed more saves. Usually you look at a goalie, did he give up bad goals? No. Did we need a few extra saves in this situation today? Yes. But at the end of the day, they were breakdowns that happened well before the puck came to him.
“I thought [Halak] was fine, [but] if we were going to win, we needed a few extra saves.”
This is honestly the best way to sum up Halak’s afternoon in net.
He wasn’t the reason they lost. Not even close.
But he didn’t necessarily give them the extra push they needed in a sluggish affair. Did Phil Myers put a perfect shot through his glove for Philly’s third goal, and with Zdeno Chara taken out of the play in the neutral zone? You bet. But did the goal have a definite back-breaking feel as it was scored just eight seconds after Chris Wagner scored to give the Bruins their first goal of the day and make it a would-be one-goal game through 40? Yup! (Stop tricking yourself into thinking it has to be one or the other. Both things can be — and were — true on Sunday.)
It’s a goal that just can’t happen. It’s the exact kind of play that Cassidy is talking about when he says “an extra save.”
And with the Bruins down by two in the third period, the dagger came by way of Scott Laughton’s goal scored four minutes and change into the frame. It ultimately didn’t matter because the Bruins failed to do anything before or after the goal, but Halak surrendering a bit too much of the net made this a relatively easy snipe for Laughton and buried Boston by three.
That’s the second extra save the Bruins needed.
Again, this is relatively meaningless when Halak would have needed to pitch a shutout to give the Bruins the victory in this one, but it’s something worth mentioning when you talk about the B’s crease. It’s not Halak or Tuukka Rask specific either.
If this team is going to struggle on noticeably bad ice, taking the B’s high-end skill on line one out of the equation and forcing them to bar-fight their way to the Cup, these games are going to have be decided by those extra saves.
Something the Bruins did not get on Sunday.
Sports Hub Sidelines Podcast
Ty Anderson and Matt Dolloff did a bonus episode of the Sports Hub Sidelines podcast to give their immediate postgame thoughts on the Bruins’ loss to the Flyers. Have a listen below.