Bruins lackluster in return home
The last time fans saw the Black and Gold on TD Garden ice; the Bruins gave their fans one of the most entertaining games of the season. A back and forth affair that saw the Bruins tally two late third period goals to notch their fifth win in as many games that one did not disappoint.
Returning to TD Garden for the first time since their “Black Friday” victory over the New York Rangers, the Bruins were coming off of a trip to Western Canada that saw them take four of a possible six points. With Saturday’s night contest in Vancouver, the Bruins traveled from coast to coast Sunday afternoon in advance for Monday’s contest against the Predators, a team who was rested and awaiting the Black and Gold in Boston.
On Monday, the Bruins looked like a team who had a case of jet lag as they dropped a lackluster contest to the Predators, 3-2.
“Well, I mean, those games are always tough when you’re coming back home from the west coast, but you’ve got to find a way and try to win the game,” said Bruins’ goalie Jonas Gustavsson, who made 30 saves in the loss. “We were close tonight. They scored a late goal there and otherwise we could have won the game.”
Traveling from one time zone to another only to play a game 24 hours later is no easy task, but it’s also no excuse for a poor performance. Patrice Bergeron says these instances happen to all teams throughout the season and the Bruins simply were not good enough.
“Yeah, but I think we’ve talked about that before the game. I think we’re professionals, and all the teams are going through that. We shouldn’t use that as an excuse,” Bergeron told the media following the loss. “We had to show up tonight and be good. We were good in parts of the game, but not everywhere. Obviously, their transition hurt us, and we didn’t counter it, we didn’t do anything about it. At the end, they scored that goal on a transition play.”
The Bruins did themselves no favors as their eight-game point streak came to an end. 24 total penalty minutes and two power play goals allowed did the B’s no good. They killed five of seven Predators’ power plays.
“You know, it’s tough when you continue to kill stuff like that, and I thought we did a pretty good job killing, but it’s a tough momentum when you’re in the box a lot,” said Kevan Miller who got the Bruins on the board first with his second goal of the season 4:13 into the first period.
Despite goals from Miller and Loui Eriksson on the power play, the offensive production was not there.
After seven shots in the first period, the Bruins had just ten shots combined in the final two periods including six in the final frame.
“Yeah, it was tough. I mean we had some looks. We missed the net. I had one in front where I should have scored that one” forward Ryan Spooner said.
“It kind of just rolled off my stick. It’s times like that where we have to score, you know? Yeah, I mean 18 shots or something like that is definitely not enough when they had like 34 or something like that, so we have to be better.”
33 for Nashville and 17 for Boston, but hey, who’s counting?
Joonas Kemppainen left the game early in the first period. Playing most of the game with a short bench combined with the Bruins rolling just a handful of forwards in their numerous penalty killing instances, was a recipe for disaster for head coach Claude Julien.
“Oh, it did. Well, we had a short bench with Joonas [Kemppainen] not coming back, and at the same time, like I said, those penalties, you’re utilizing the same players all the time. So when you’ve got a short bench, and you’re having to over-utilize certain players, it makes it really tough on you,” Julien said during his postgame press conference. “So I tried to use a couple of other guys there a few times on the penalty kill, but I think a lot of damage was done, especially in that second period.”
Rest won’t be easy for the Bruins as they will jet north of the border to Montreal on Tuesday for Wednesday’s contest against the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens. The Bruins have dropped both games against their long-time rivals so far this season.