Costly defensive breakdown hurts Bruins
When a team is hot, it is almost as if they can make like a magician and pull wins out of a hat. They can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, or just simply find ways to win.
When a team is in the midst of a struggle, it is quite the opposite. It’s as if that struggling team invents ways to lose. Once one problem is fixed, a new one arises.
Prime example: what happened to the Bruins Friday night at the TD Garden against Chicago. Despite outshooting the Blackhawks 30-22 and putting forth a solid overall defensive effort, it was one breakdown in their own zone that led to the lone goal of the night late in the third period by Marian Hossa that steered the Blackhawks to a 1-0 victory over the Bruins, sending Boston to its third straight defeat.
Following a turnover near the Hawks blueline, Chicago forward Vinnie Hinostroza would pick up the loose puck and speed into the Boston zone. Drifting off to his right, Hinostroza would dump it off to Tanner Kero by the top of the right faceoff circle. Kero would then head to the net before dishing a backhander through three Bruin skaters to a streaking Marian Hossa, who proceeded to fire the puck past Rask with just 1:26 left in the game.
“They just came with some speed and made a play that we have to be better on,” said Adam McQuaid, who was one of the defensemen beaten on the play. “Late in the game like that, you just have to manage the puck and we didn’t do that. It came back to bite us.”
Although the Bruins were able to keep the Blackhawks, a team generally well-known for their high-powered offense, off the scoreboard until the last minute-and-a-half of the game, they know that making mistakes against a talented team like this can, and will be, costly.
“Our guys played hard, and a couple mistakes and it’s in the back of our net,” defenseman Torey Krug said. “You know it’s one of those games where you’ve got to get [the game] to overtime so we can get the point and then move on from there and try and win.”
To make Hossa’s goal an even harder pill to swallow, while the Bruins may not have given up an odd-man rush all night, Hossa’s goal would come on a 3-on-4, something that Claude Julien obviously finds unacceptable.
“The winning goal goes through three of our guys and it’s in our net with a minute-and-a-half left,” said the embattled Bruins coach. “We have to stand there again, take responsibility for our own actions. It’s unfortunate because that minute-and-a-half that was left in the game kind of tarnished everything we had done for the first 58 minutes. I thought we played well against a good team.”
On Monday, it was everything from the goaltending, to the defense, to the lack of goal scoring. On Wednesday, though the scoring touch was certainly there, the defense and goaltending practically vanished after the second period.
And now, fast forward to Friday, it was a good defensive and goaltending effort, but this time, it was the lack of scoring and just one mistake in the defensive zone led to another home loss for the endangered Bruins.
“We had a game plan in place and our guys executed it well tonight, they were ready to play,” Julien said of his team’s performance. “…We had contained the guys we needed to contain. Like I said, one little mistake and it’s in our net and you lose yourself a pretty important hockey game.”
Another important hockey game awaits on Sunday against the Penguins. Certainly, they’ll need to limit their mistakes against the likes of Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.