Plus-11, minus-3 and plus-19, the Bruins goal differential this season in the first, second and third periods respectively.
Clearly the second period is killing the Bruins.
Two nights after allowing three second period goals to the Anaheim Ducks during their 5-2 loss in Anaheim Tuesday night, the Bruins once again found themselves behind the eight ball thanks to two second period goals in Thursday’s 4-2 loss to the L.A. Kings.
Early second period tallies by Justin Williams and Alec Martinez just over a minute apart put the Bruins in a 3-0 hole for the second straight contest. Martinez’s goal 1:45 into the second period was good enough to end Tuukka Rask’s night earlier then expected. This was the third time in 10 games that Rask had been pulled during the game.
“I couldn’t help the team enough and we also didn’t play our best” said Rask. “So it was a combination of two things, you know you have to do things to shake it up and I think it worked again.”
Pulling Rask seemed to ignite the Bruins a bit as the Bruins were able to get one of those goals back shortly after Chad Johnson replaced Rask as Matt Fraser lit the lamp for the second time this season. But unfortunately for the Bruins they were unable to build off of Fraser’s goal.
In Tuesday’s loss to the Ducks, the Bruins came out flying—no pun intended—as they outshot the Ducks 16-3, but luckily for the Ducks, goalie Jonas Hiller was on top of his game. Instead of carrying the momentum of a great road period into the second, the Bruins came out flat, letting the game get away from them with another poor second period.
“It’s got to be mental, I mean major, major mistakes and it ends up costing us. Sometimes they don’t, sometimes they do and in the past few games they have and it’s cost us big time. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves, we have to just be more focused and clean that stuff up and it will be good” Rask stated.
Despite a combined plus-30 goal differential in the first and third period and a two point lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Atlantic Division, Captain Zdeno Chara knows that he and his team needs to be better.
“We know we can play much better than we are right now, we need to get that game back” said Chara.
“It’s not going to happen overnight or happen by trying to make some high risk plays or taking risks. We just need to stay patient, slowly gain our game back.”
The Bruins haven’t been able to put together too many full “60 minute efforts” but they’ve still been finding ways to win games.
Picking up their play in the second period is a good place to start as they move closer to putting in that often talked about “60 minute effort.”
The Bruins will have a chance to take some points out of this very difficult road trip Saturday night when they travel to San Jose to take on the Sharks.
Everyone, including the Bruins knew this road trip would be a difficult one as the Ducks, Kings and Sharks are a combined 39-6-8 on home ice.
“Yeah, you know this time is always kind of a grind. You’re on the road and you lose games, it easily wears on you. But we have enough experience to battle through these kinds of things and rise on top. So I don’t think we should be overly worried, but we still need to be a lot better. Hopefully we realize that sooner or later” said Rask.
Sooner would be much better.
Hear what Rask, Johnson and head coach Claude Julien had to say following the loss to the Kings: