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  • What we learned from the Bruins shootout loss to the Oilers

    Post Game

    What we learned from the Bruins shootout loss to the Oilers

    Chris Chirichiello December 3, 2015

    The red-hot Boston Bruins embarked on a west coast road trip Wednesday night as they faced off against the lowly Edmonton Oilers. It didn’t go according to plan as the Black and Gold lost in a shootout, 3-2. The loss ended the B’s five-game win streak.

    Claude Julien’s team had a four-day layoff, which could’ve played a factor in looking lazy at times, especially on a power play where a sloppy change led to a short-handed goal by Mark Letestu. Torey Krug tied it late in the second period, but the B’s were playing catch-up hockey all night after Matt Hendricks regained the lead for the Oilers before Zdeno Chara tied it with less than four minutes to play in overtime.

    Anders Nilsson improved to 6-0 in his career in shootouts as Jordan Eberle’s top shelf goal was all the Oilers needed to gain the extra point against the B’s. Here are a few things that we learned from Wednesday’s loss.

    Bruins can’t avoid letdown

    The Black and Gold rolled into town winners of five in a row with their special teams coming together, but had a lackluster performance to say the least in Edmonton. They fell behind twice, couldn’t capitalize on power plays, took five penalties and were dominated at the faceoff dot.

    Even though the B’s notched a point, this was a game that was almost a must-win starting off the road trip against a lowly opponent and old friend Peter Chiarelli.

    “We didn’t play a real hard game tonight, and that’s what we needed to do,” Julien told NESN’s Jack Edwards and Andy Brickley postgame. “Just very average. I think we were very average tonight.”

    There were times where the Black and Gold played with urgency, for example, at the end of regulation where David Krejci found Chara for the game-tying goal possessing great zone time, but more often than not the hometown team turned the puck over and was all out of sorts.

    Tuukka Rask is shaping to form

    Many people were calling for Tuukka Rask to be played less in favor of Jonas Gustavsson. Against Edmonton, Rask quieted those naysayers, again.

    Rask turned away 34 of 36 shots while one of the goals he allowed was on poor execution all around on his team’s own power play. He needed to be his team’s best penalty killer and on Wednesday night, Rask was just that as he stopped all seven power play shots from the Oilers, who were 0-for-5 with the man advantage.

    The 28-year-old goaltender is unbeaten in his last four starts, compiling a 3-0-1 record. He saved his team almost single-handedly in overtime to force the shootout where the B’s eventually took the loss, but the stock is rising on Julien’s workhorse. It’s a good sign for the Black and Gold.

    Matt Beleskey showing signs

    Matt Beleskey looked hungry in the opening 20 minutes of play for the B’s where he had the three best chances of the period, but was denied every time by Nilsson. Beleskey hasn’t sniffed a goal in his last 13 games now and didn’t record a goal in the entire month of November, but he was showing grit and forcing his way into those dirty areas Wednesday night, an aspect of the game his head coach really likes.

    Beleskey didn’t light the lamp, but he stuffed the stat sheet. He led the B’s with seven shots on net, he had four penalty minutes (two which were questionable on an interference call), recorded two hits, sported a plus-1 rating and logged 19 minutes of ice time.

    This is one of the guys the B’s need to get going. If Wednesday was any indication that he is on the right path, the B’s might get a big boost. In 21 games played, the 27-year-old has lit the lamp just twice while dishing out eight assists.

    Oilers are skilled

    Even though the record may not indicate how talented the Oilers are, Edmonton gave the B’s everything they could handle.

    Players such as Eberle, Taylor Hall and Letestu gave the B’s fits all night long winning more battles for the puck and Boston’s captain reiterated that after the game.

    “We need to be better,” Chara told reporters. “We need to work much harder winning more battles and races. Just wasn’t good enough.”

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