What we learned: Desperation comes too late for Bruins
Down 6-0, the Bruins appeared to be folding up shop in their final road game of the season in Chicago.
Regardless of what happened after Patrick Kane finished off his hat trick at 14:16 of the second to give the Blackhawks that six-goal lead, the Bruins were 99.9 percent likely to remain on the outside looking in of a playoff berth. Give them credit for at least making things a little interesting.
Two goals 11 seconds apart by David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron (his first of two on the afternoon) with under a minute left in the middle frame gave the Bruins a little life. Bergeron and Brad Marchand cut the deficit to 6-4 midway through the final stanza.
Could the Bruins have played much better? Absolutely. Particularly during the first 40 minutes. Could things have been much worse? Yes.
Amidst all this, the Bruins do not control their own destiny, at least for the time being. With three games left in 2015-16, the Bruins need to win their remaining slate at TD Garden against the Hurricanes, Red Wings and Senators.
For now, here are a few things that we learned from the craziness of the Bruins’ 6-4 loss at the United Center.
Where was the early desperation?
Against the Blues, the Bruins showed desperation against a team fighting with the Stars for first place in the Central Division. Through their physical play and quality chances, the Bruins’ desperation paid off — despite a late Blues push in the third period — as they earned a much needed two points to stay in third in the Atlantic Division.
With the Red Wings sweeping the Wild and Maple Leafs, the Bruins were bound to show desperation once more against a Blackhawks team without the likes of Duncan Keith and Corey Crawford. Instead, they became the source of ridicule throughout social media.
The Bruins were outshot 19-8 in the first period. Aside from Zdeno Chara engaging in a heated exchange with Jonathan Toews, which led to the captains serving two-minute minors for unsportsmanlike conduct, the Bruins were a step slower in every aspect to start.
Another day where Tuukka was left stranded
Interestingly enough, the Bruins are missing Kevan Miller and Dennis Seidenberg on the blue-line.
Over the last two games, the Black and Gold have allowed 11 goals. The frustrating thing in all this? The Bruins’ offense fixed their goal scoring issues from their last seven games in March where they scored 10 goals in that span.
From Joe Morrow’s first period turnover that led to Kane scoring his first goal on a breakaway to the numerous odd-man rushes and being outmatched in front of the net, the Bruins defense left Tuukka Rask out to dry. Yes, he may have his detractors, but against a team like the Blackhawks, Rask needs as much support as he can get. Instead, the 2014 Vezina Winner was replaced by Jonas Gustavsson after Toews’ 26th of the season.
Julien on Rask: “I don’t think my No. 1 goaltender needed to be exposed any more than that, the way we were playing in front of him”
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) April 3, 2016
Putting things in perspective
Until Wednesday, Bruins fans only have one game worth of scoreboard watching. That comes later tonight when the Flyers, who are one point ahead of the B’s for the last wild card spot in the East, travel to Pittsburgh to face the Penguins.
On Tuesday, the Bruins welcome the Hurricanes for their final meeting of the season at TD Garden. A Flyers loss tonight and a Bruins win on Tuesday means that, one way or another, the B’s will hold on to a playoff spot entering Thursday’s matchup with the Red Wings. The night before that Bruins-Wings showdown, Detroit travels to Philadelphia.
There’s no other way around it. The Bruins have to win against a Hurricanes team that will be focusing on booking tee times when the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin. The B’s need to show desperation from start to finish, otherwise they’ll be joining the Canes on the golf course.