On a night where it was obvious to point fingers at the defensive breakdowns and inexperience on the blue line, the Boston Bruins missed opportunities on the offensive side to extend their early 1-0 lead.
The Black and Gold surely fed off the hometown crowd, the buzz and Rene Rancourt serenading the TD Garden crowd in his 40th season, but after David Krejci’s first goal of the 2015-2016 season early on, the B’s could not extend their lead which came back to bite them down the stretch.
It was a great opening period for the B’s where they outshot the Winnipeg Jets 14-6. After 20 minutes, Krejci’s goal was the difference. While the B’s completely controlled the tempo early on, they couldn’t capitalize on two power-plays in the first period where the pressure was on Ondrej Pavelec.
Head coach Claude Julien was pleased with his team’s first period, but would’ve liked to build their lead heading into the middle frame.
“I liked our first period,” Julien said after his team’s 6-2 loss. “I thought we played well and I thought we came out and asserted ourselves extremely well. We created some scoring chances. I think it would’ve been nice to come out of there with a better lead than we did after the first with the type of opportunities that we had. It should’ve been a two-or-three goal period, but we misfired or missed those opportunities and allowed them to stay in the game.”
The Black and Gold were certainly in attack mode in the first period, but finishing has become a problem for this team over the years and it was evident again as their early lead quickly disappeared in the second period where the Jets scored three unanswered goals.
Krejci was all over the ice in the opening period having numerous chances himself but only had one goal to show for it.
“Yeah, we had enough chances — we had a lot of shots,” Krejci said postgame. “And we gave them two goals in the second period so, uncharacteristic from our team but it is what it is. We can’t hang our heads. We have a game in two days so just regroup and get back at it.”
Goaltender Tuukka Rask admits there is plenty of time to correct the errors, but it needs to be fixed quickly, especially with the Montreal Canadiens coming to town on Saturday night.
“I mean, I think most importantly we want to take that offense,” Rask said. “We created a ton of chances and had a chance to score way more goals than we did, so I think that’s the most important thing to take from this game.”
“I thought we looked great in the first period,” Rask added. “As the game went on, we got kind of sloppy and kind of gave them chances, but overall, the offense we created was great. Then, when we just try and balance it out a little bit with the defense, I think it’s going to be good.”
Brad Marchand created five shot attempts in the first period but had nothing to show for it. His best chance came on a two-on-one where he was robbed by Pavelec. His linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson, generated offense early on as well but ended with zero points, 10 shots and a minus-4 rating.
After the B’s spoke postgame, it was evident that the team knew its defensive game needs work as a whole not just the defensemen in front of Rask. It needs to start with the forwards back checking and being accountable in all zones.
Julien reiterated at times players were not respecting layers or backchecking, which was crucial in their blowout loss Thursday night.
“Yeah, back checking or not covering up for a guy that’s pinching or that kind of thing,” said the ninth year B’s coach. “Those are layers. If a D is going to pinch the wall, then you’ve got to have a forward that backs him up. We didn’t always have that and we looked more to turn around and hope he was going to keep it in and then we could stay on the offense. We’ve been good at that in the past, but we got away from it tonight.”