Possessing the puck was not an issue for the Bruins in Game 2 against the Panthers.
Despite a losing night at the faceoff dot and your eye test telling you a different story for large chunks of action, the Bruins actually won the shot attempt battle at five-on-five play, and finished with seven more shots than the Panthers by the night’s end.
But what they did with the puck, however, was a much different story both to your eyes and on the scoreboard, as giveaways proved costly and downright haunting in a series-tying 6-3 loss to the Panthers at TD Garden.
“The turnovers we had tonight were catastrophic,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery offered after the loss. “Like they were right through the middle of the ice [and] not typical of [our] turnovers. We usually have turnovers when other teams are forcing us or we’re trying to make plays. It wasn’t really in areas typically that you’re trying to make plays, so to speak, where we turned it over.”
Let’s just come out with it: This was gross.
It’s legitimately hard to remember a game where the Bruins were this careless with the puck. Whether it was in their own zone — both through the middle of the ice and just inside their blue line — or with a downright infuriating commitment to no-look passes that would end rushes or possession opportunities, the Bruins repeatedly made life harder on themselves through their own doing.
“I think it was us trying to make plays when plays weren’t there to be made,” Montgomery said. “Instead of just moving it north like we did most of the night, sometimes we just tried to make passes, it happened on the power play as well where we tried to make passes. It happened on the pulled goalie situation, where we gave up the empty net goal.
“It was just execution in certain areas of our game with the puck really cost us tonight.”
The final tally by the night’s end? 15 giveaways. The Bruins hit the 15-giveaway mark just 10 times during the regular season, with their bottoming out on that front coming in a Feb. 11 loss to the Capitals headlined by 21 giveaways.
Two of those 15 giveaways led directly to Florida goals, too, the first of which coming on Brandon Carlo’s giveaway in the middle period, while Charlie McAvoy contributed to the chaos with a giveaway on a third-period goal from Carter Verhaeghe.
“We just gotta do a better job,” McAvoy said. “Plain and simple.”
Here are some other takeaways and thoughts from an ugly loss at TD Garden…