Boston Bruins

 

  • The Bruins knew they were traveling to Ottawa on the wrong side of any perceived advantage.

    It was their second game in as many nights, and the first leg of the back-to-back was a hard-fought, grinding win over the Panthers. The Sens, meanwhile, were resting at home and anxiously awaiting the B’s arrival in what would be Ottawa’s home opener. Given the renewed hope in Ottawa after a busy offseason, Canadian Tire Centre was going to be absolutely juiced. It was on Jim Montgomery’s mind even before he and the rest of the Bruins boarded their flight out of Boston.

    In other words, this was indeed your first of a few ‘scheduled losses’ for the Bruins in 2022-23.

    But that didn’t stop Jeremy Swayman from falling on his sword after the 7-5 final.

    “I feel like I let the boys down,” Swayman, who was lifted after 40 minutes of play after surrendering six goals on 25 shots, said. “I just didn’t get in front of the puck. Lot of leaky goals. So, it’s something that I can fix and I will.”

    To Swayman’s point, there’s really no way of dressing up a 19-of-25 performance. He was leakier than normal, and the second-period collapse was especially brutal, as the Senators tagged him for three goals in four and a half minutes, and after the Bruins just worked their asses off to erase a previously three-goal deficit and work this game back to even at 3-3.

    “I thought we hung [Swayman] out to dry,” Montgomery said. “His first two shots on net are 3-on-2’s coming 100 miles per hour. We didn’t put any body and didn’t get in anybody’s way. And that’s a tough way to start on fresh ice.”

    This is actualy one of those scenarios where both Montgomery and Swayman are right, too. Knowing what the Bruins were walking into on Tuesday night, a dialed-up performance from Swayman was almost necessary for the Bruins to weather the early onslaught from a jacked-up Sens team finally in their own barn. But to expect that to carry you — especially when the Bruins were just so, so poor in their own end throughout the night — is also a bit unrealistic.

    Swayman never helped out his team, but his teammates never really helped him out either. Not in his own end, anyway.

    “The D-zone coverage never really got to where we needed it to be,” said Montgomery.

    The greater issue here is that it’s been two games and Swayman hasn’t exactly looked ready to build off a 2021-22 season that ended with him as the playoff starter. Through two outings, the 23-year-old has allowed nine goals on 49 shots faced (an .816 save percentage). That currently stands as the third-worst among the group of 37 goalies with at least two starts.

    Now, the good news is that this year is following a similar trend to last year, where the Bruins have one goalie surging while the other is trying to find his game, as Linus Ullmark has been fantastic out of the gate. The other important thing to note here — and I truly cannot stress this enough — is that it’s only been two games. If you’re freaking out after two games, please, go outside. Jump in a big pile of leaves. Buy a telescope and look at the stars. Just do something that’s better for your overall health than panicking over 100 minutes of goaltending.

    But the Bruins still want to go with a near 50-50 split of duties in net. Nights like Tuesday in Ottawa will throw a wrench into those plans, as the Bruins will have to abandon rest days for the other goalie. (You could almost see Montgomery wrestling with this behind the bench after a Swayman goal, knowing that the added strain wouldn’t do Ullmark any good.)

    So it’s on to the next one for both Swayman and the Bruins, and with the always-confident Swayman delivering a guarantee to his teammates — and into a working microphone and working cameras — ahead of a flight home.

    “I’m gonna go back to the drawing board and do whatever I can,” Swayman said. “Because I guarantee you I’m going to make this up [to the team].”

    Here are some other thoughts and notes from a 7-5 loss in Ottawa

  • It should be easy to take positives from this one

    Oct 18, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins left wing Nick Foligno (17) celebrates with team his goal scored in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 18, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins left wing Nick Foligno (17) celebrates with team his goal scored in the second period against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

    I like to think of myself as a ‘glass half full’ kinda fella. Unless that glass is half full of Kombucha, anyway, because my goodness why would you ever do that to yourself? Listen, I get it, you’re gonna live forever, but if living forever requires drinking something that both smells and tastes like an old gym sock, I gotta admit that death doesn’t seem so bad. But with that in mind, am I the idiot for actually thinking there’s more positives than negatives here?

    No, Jeremy Swayman did not bring his A nor his B game to the rink. And the defense in front of him brought their F- game. But to erase one three-goal deficit, and to come within one shot of erasing another one, speaks volumes.

    I mean, do you expect the Bruins to play this poorly in their own end on an even somewhat regular basis? It seems almost impossible. Especially once the team gets Brandon Carlo, Matt Grzelcyk, and Charlie McAvoy back in action. You can almost throw away the defensive-zone footage from this one because that, when healthy, isn’t who you are. But you can be the team that is never truly out of a game, and that can take you a long, long way in a hockey season.

    “I just like the fact that we never stopped fighting,” Montgomery, who noted that he does believe in ‘silver linings’ of a loss, said. “We’re resilient. That’s a great group to coach. They just keep fighting and playing for each other.”

    “We’re in the game, right? Like we gave ourselves a chance to be in the game,” Nick Foligno said. “There’s no quit. There’s no quit in this room. I think we learned that you can’t leave it to chance either. We gotta find a way to tighten up a little bit more and not allow them to get that go-ahead goal.”

    Tuesday, by the way, was the first time in 2022-23 that the Bruins had trailed a game at any point this season. And the Senators had to cling to those leads for dear life. Just something to consider.

  • Anton Stralman makes Bruins debut

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 05: Anton Stralman #36 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2022 in New York City. The Bruins defeated the Rangers 5-4. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 05: Anton Stralman #36 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on October 05, 2022 in New York City. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

    Here’s this for some nonsensical garbage: Because Tuesday night’s game was in Canada, Bruins defenseman Anton Stralman, who has been waiting to get his work visa issues solved for over a week now, could play. If the game were happening in the United States, however, Stralman would not have been eligible to play.

    At least that’s the understanding the Bruins had when they left Boston for Ottawa late Monday night and when they assigned Dan Renouf down to Providence about 90 minutes before puck drop.

    This visa stuff with the 36-year-old Stralman, who turned a pro tryout into a one-year deal with the team earlier this month, has been a little bit bothersome to the Bruins. It’s basically interrupted the Bruins’ plans to get him adjusted to their system and in their lineup. In fact, Stralman left for Canada ahead of the team, meaning that Tuesday’s pregame warm-up was the first time that the veteran Swede had been back on the ice with his teammates in over 48 hours.

    So, perhaps it was no surprise that Stralman’s Bruins debut didn’t exactly go as planned, as Stralman had a downright brutal giveaway that led to Ottawa’s sixth goal and was a minus-2 by the night’s end.

    Let’s see how he looks Thursday night against the Ducks. If he’s allowed to work on U.S. soil by then, anyway.

  • Jakub Lauko provides immediate boost in return to lineup

    Oct 18, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins center Jakub Lauko (94) skates during warmup prior to game against the  Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

    Oct 18, 2022; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Boston Bruins center Jakub Lauko (94) skates during warmup prior to game against the Ottawa Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. (Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY Sports)

    Rookie Jakub Lauko’s removal from the Black and Gold lineup was a short one. Just one game, in fact, as the 22-year-old rejoined Boston’s fourth line to the right of Nick Foligno and Tomas Nosek for Tuesday’s contest. He made the return to action count, too, with his first NHL point coming by way of an assist on Nick Foligno’s second-period goal.

    Lauko brings an element to that line that’s sorely needed, as he’s a speedster with a penchant for annoying (Josh Brown wanted to punch him within five seconds of meeting him last Saturday) and drawing penalties, as his successful baiting of the Sens’ Erik Brannstrom into a slash in the third period made it three penalties drawn in three games.

    With Lauko back in the mix, Craig Smith sat as a healthy scratch for the Bruins. It was the almost inevitable next step, as Smith played a career-low 7:03 in Monday’s win over the Panthers.