What we learned: the Bruins are an enigma
The Bruins lost another home game falling to the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 and now have lost four of their last five games after going 6-0-1 in the previous seven. Boston is also now 1-5-1 on TD Garden ice.
Maybe we should switch the title of this column to “What We Aren’t Learning” because 15 games into this 2015-16 season the Boston Bruins are a complete enigma.
In the first ten minutes of this game, Boston looked like world beaters and appeared ready to run Colorado out of the building, taking a 2-0 lead on goals by captain Zdeno Chara and center Ryan Spooner. But just as they have so many times when taking a lead, the Bruins seemed to sit back and let the opponent dictate the game. By the time the first period had ended, they found themselves in a 2-2 game thanks to goals by former Bruin Carl Soderberg and Avalanche defenseman Francois Beauchemin.
After a scoreless second period, in which the Bruins failed to capitalize on a three-minute power play courtesy of a Gabriel Landeskog match penalty for a head shot on Brad Marchand, the Bruins were completely outplayed in the third period and saw another game slip away. Avalanche center Matt Duchene gave his team their first lead of the game at 6:49 of the final frame and unlike Boston, they would not relinquish that lead.
After his best performance of the season with a 36-save outing in a 2-1 win over the Islanders Sunday, Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask was good but not good enough letting in three goals on 30 Avalanche shots. Rask is now 4-6-1 with a 3.21 GAA and .892 save percentage. Meanwhile, Colorado netminder Reto Berra made 25 saves for the win.
Who Are These Bruins?
As referenced above, inconsistency and a struggle to maintain or even identify an identity continues to plague the Bruins. For three straight games, Boston looked like a team in disarray with undisciplined and lackadaisical play in losses to the Stars, Capitals and Canadiens. Then against the Islanders on Sunday they play a near perfect game with structure and determination for almost a full 60 minutes.
If there is anything that has been learned about this Bruins squad it’s that they are routinely inconsistent and obviously very frustrating for a head coach that knows they can execute his system on the ice.
“Well, it’s the same old I guess,” Julien said after the game. “We’re off to good starts again and then you get a 2-0 lead and instead of continuing to play your game, you started seeing some long passes that ended up in icings, you saw some turnovers at the blueline. We’re being a little stubborn right now with respecting our game plan for the whole game.
“When you find it again, I thought in the third period it was more of one team a little bit more determined than the other. We didn’t win enough battles, we didn’t win enough races. This is our building, this is a game we have to win in our own building and we let it get away.”
Seidenberg Not Too Shabby In First Game
Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg made his season debut after missing the first 14 games with a back injury he had surgery for. The rugged blue liner finished the game with six hits in 15:34 minutes played and was the least of the Bruins’ worries on this night.
“He did well for a guy that hadn’t played at all this year,” Julien said.
Marchand Takes HeadShot From Landeskog Then Retaliates With Sucker Punch
In what once again is becoming too frequent a scene this season, we saw another shot to the head when Avalanche Captain Gabriel Landeskog blindsided Bruins forward Brad Marchand with a open-ice shoulder to the head. After shaking out the cobwebs, Marchand got up circled around and as Landeskog was as he claimed trying to “apologize”, Marchand sucker-punched the Swedish star.
“Right away like I said I tried to let up and then I tried to skate up and apologize and tell him I didn’t mean to come across and he – obviously he wasn’t hurt with that sucker punch,” Landeskog told Mike Chambers of the Denver Post. “Like I said, I’m happy he didn’t get hurt. I feel like principle point of contact was shoulder and like I said I’m happy he didn’t get hurt.”
Marchand was asked if he heard Landeskog apologizing.
“I don’t know what he was saying,” Marchand said and then acknowledged he hit him in the heat of the moment. “Things happen quick, and I know I’ve been there. I know he didn’t mean it and I don’t think he’s a dirty player. It’s hockey; it is what it is.”
Joe Haggerty of CSNNE.com reported during the game that both Landeskog’s hit and Marchand’s punch were being reviewed for possible supplemental discipline.
“It is what it is,” Marchand said.