Bruins start road trip off on wrong foot
Kicking off their tough three-game road trip Thursday night in Washington against the Capitals, the Boston Bruins wanted to start the trip off on the right foot. With stops in Washington, Montreal and Brooklyn, the Bruins face three of the East’s best in a span of four nights.
Starting the trip off with their sixth consecutive road win would be no easy task. Standing in the way was Capitals’ goalie Braden Holtby. The 26-year old Canadian native has done nothing but give the Bruins fits.
Shutting the Bruins out in all three games against them last season, Holtby entered Thursday’s contest not allowing a goal to the Bruins since March 29, 2014.
Things looked good for the Bruins in the first, as they were by far the better team. Jimmy Hayes’ power play strike rewarded the Bruins for their play.
That would be the only reward the Bruins would get. Washington went on to score four unanswered goals en route to the 4-1 victory.
“The first 10 minutes were good, I thought once we scored that goal, that’s when I thought we took our foot off the gas and let them get themselves back into the game,” head coach Claude Julien told reporters after the Bruins’ first road loss this season.
“Second period was a matter of some real bad penalties that kind of hurts your team and gives them some momentum. Third period we had to claw our way back into it.”
As has been the case since the start of the season, penalties haunted the Bruins. Taking three penalties in the middle frame, including Hayes’ slashing and Brad Marchand’s roughing which led to a Capitals’ five-on-three advantage, the struggling Bruins penalty kill was not up to par.
“All three penalties, you take a slashing in the neutral zone, you had too many men on the ice when your guy that you’re jumping for is still there and the puck’s coming,” Julien said. “It’s like, you’ve got to be smarter than that. It’s not just Marchand. It’s a lot of it. I thought the second-period penalties were real bad penalties on our part.”
Next up for the Bruins is a date in Montreal for Hockey Night in Canada Saturday night at the Bell Centre. With or without the injured Carey Price between the pipes, beating the Canadiens on home ice is never an easy task. The Bruins have lost their last six against Montreal, and they have not won inside the Bell Centre since March of 2014.
Montreal currently sits as the league’s best with 25 points. They have lost just two games in regulation and three overall. The Habs won the first meeting in Boston earlier this season, 4-2, in a game where the Bruins really didn’t have a chance.
After dropping the first game on the road trip, Marchand and the Bruins are not ready to panic just yet.
“It’s one game,” said Marchand. “It’s not the end of the world. It’s unfortunate that we lost. But we’re not going to win 82 games this year. We just have to make sure that we’re better next game.”
Marchand and the Bruins may be signing a different tune if the next two games don’t go their way.