The breakdowns are killing the Bruins in a major way
One bad shift sparked a third-period undoing of the highest order for the Bruins on Friday afternoon, as the Rangers’ Artemi Panarin bounced on the opportunity that the Bruins presented the Blueshirts in what was a tight-checking third period.
That, as you would expect, did not sit well with the Bruins following their second straight home defeat.
“I think the third goal is just an example of guys not playing winning hockey for whatever reason,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the 5-2 loss at TD Garden. “It was a breakdown in the structure all over the ice.
“You got five guys on the ice who have been in the league a long time. So, I think the onus has be shared there. They have to know their routes on the forecheck, their defending. I think that turns the game. Just a poor forecheck where they came right through our three forwards and then our D, not sure they defended as well as they could even though it was an odd-man rush.”
This goal against really did feature it all for the Bruins, too, from the lackluster effort at the other end of the ice to Derek Forbort going with the ol’ crab-walk defense to Brandon Carlo getting beat by Panarin for inside positioning on Jeremy Swayman. It was just as bad as it could get for the Bruins, and it was the kind of mistake they just couldn’t afford at that point in the game. Or really at any point in the game, as this team’s margin of error against playoff teams just isn’t what it used to be.
“We kind of pissed [a chance to win] away, to be honest with you,” Cassidy said of Friday’s performance. “I think there’s been too much of it in general. We just, as a group, have to do a better job with that. Understand where you are in the game. There’s gonna be goals that are scored because guys are stronger than you or faster than you and they make plays or [get] calls or whatever. But you gotta play winning hockey at the right time and I think for us, that’s when we get away from our identity… when we start having those breakdowns that are pretty straightforward.”
Never known as a particularly strong second period team (the second-period Bruins are probably the Black and Gold’s biggest rival over the last two years or so, for whatever reason), third periods are starting to hurt the Bruins, too. Friday was no exception, as N.Y. jumped ahead with a pair of goals scored off odd-man rushes before Jacob Trouba’s empty-net dagger.
Outscored 3-0 in the final 20, the Bruins now sit with a minus-5 goal differential in the third period this season. That’s the sixth-worst in hockey, trailing only the Sabres (minus-6), Canucks (minus-7), Islanders (minus-12), Canadiens (minus-15), and Senators (minus-20). And Boston’s 16 third-period goals this year are the fifth-fewest in hockey.
The Bruins can get away with that (and they certainly have to a certain degree) against basement teams like Buffalo, Detroit, and Montreal. But against teams like Calgary, New York, and Carolina? It’s going to come back and hurt ‘ya, especially when the breakdowns leave you fishing pucks out of your net, just like it has in 2021-22.
“We have breakdowns where we seemed to get scored on plays from nothing,” Brad Marchand said after the loss. “It’s a couple little breakdowns that they capitalized on and we didn’t capitalize on ours. Those are just the little things we have to clean up.
“If we do and we stop shooting ourselves in the foot, we’re going to be a hell of a team.”
Here are some other thoughts and notes from a 5-2 loss to the Rangers…
Artemi Panarin goes full Oddjob on Brad Marchand
We here at 98.5 The Sports Hub dot com love a good superstar-on-superstar scrap. And Brad Marchand and Artemi Panarin delivered in the third period of Friday’s game jawing at one another from their benches. But then Panarin did something I cannot recall seeing before when he decided to whip his glove at Marchand.
Artemi Panarin with the glove throw and Brad Marchand pic.twitter.com/n0fdFoRtCD— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) November 26, 2021
What the hell was that?
Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy described it as a “lot of noise.” That’s objectively hilarious on its own.
But then Marchand gave his take on the issues between the two all-world left wings like only he can.
“We were just talking about what we had for Thanksgiving dinner,” Marchand joked. “He didn’t like what I ate.”
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.