Believe it or not, things were ugly for the Bruins’ power play even before they gave a shorthanded Calgary group four chances on Jeremy Swayman on the way to Andrew Mangiapane’s shorthanded deathblow.
Rattled to hell by an aggressive Calgary penalty-killing group that refused to let the Bruins get comfortable — or even set up over the attacking blue line, for that matter — the Black and Gold’s high-skilled top unit tried to use that high-end skill and instead bungled puck movement through the neutral zone to spark an almost impossible-to-imagine 2-on-0 the other way.
“They got outworked,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said. “That top group, they were stubborn tonight. Very stubborn in their approach. Sometimes it works out for them because they’re elite players. Tonight it didn’t and it hurt us.”
Kept off the board with an 0-for-3 figure, the Bruins actually managed just four shots on Daniel Vladar while up a man. That alone is a problem, as explained by Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron.
“We can talk about plays and what we’re seeing, but at times we have to just bring the puck on net, retrieve rebounds, [create] second and third chances, and then things will open up for us,” Bergeron offered. “I think we forced a lot of plays tonight and they capitalized on those plays.”
It didn’t help that the Bruins entered Sunday’s game knowing that the Flames’ shorthanded group wasn’t going to make it easy on them, and that they stuck with some hero-puck approaches that went nowhere but the wrong way.
“We had a game plan on how to get in the zone,” Cassidy acknowledged. “Calgary’s [penalty kill] is excellent and they defend the blue line well. There’s certain ways you can get in. You’ve got to play behind it or on the first pass get into the middle so you can kick it out. We didn’t do it.”
And it cost ’em.
Here are some other thoughts and notes from a 4-0 loss to the Flames…
Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.