There’s good news and bad news for the Boston Bruins.
The good news is the Bruins have one more game before the All-Star Break. The bad news is they’ll be looking to avenge Sunday’s 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars.
The Stars scored twice in each period as Boston concluded the mini three-game road trip with a stinker.
“You got to execute at an NHL level, especially against good teams that are really pushing it,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We didn’t do enough of that tonight. On the offensive side… getting pucks behind them early, I thought we were stubborn in that way.”
Dallas chased Linus Ullmark from the cage in the netminder’s third straight start and first loss since Dec. 16. Jeremy Swayman allowed the final two goals of the night in his first action with the big club since Jan. 6.
Craig Smith concluded as Boston’s lone goalscorer with his sixth tally of the season in the final frame.
Five different Stars skaters potted tallies including former Bruin Tyler Seguin, who scored the game’s first and last goal.
Here’s what we learned following the Bruins’ disappointing start to the second half of the season.
Defensive breakdowns plagued Bruins
Cassidy and the rest of Boston’s coaching staff will have a long night reviewing film from this one.
It seemed like every time the Bruins made a mistake, the Stars proceeded to put the puck in the back of their net.
Alexander Radulov dangled Ullmark on a breakaway for Dallas’ second strike in the first period after the Bruins mismanaged the puck in the neutral zone.
Luke Glendening redirected a Miro Heiskanen shot in the second following a scramble in the D-zone that saw multiple Boston players puck-watching.
The defensive breakdowns continued with Jamie Benn wristing the fourth goal past Ullmark standing untouched in the slot.
The Stars’ three other goals came either from strong plays (Roope Hintz’s power-play marker) or via a bouncing puck (Seguin’s opening goal after an unlucky deflection off Urho Vaakainanen’s stick).
“If you look at the first period goals, we win a faceoff, we don’t get it through, it’s blocked, they’re coming back, they beat us up-ice on a 2-on-1,” Cassidy said. “They get a bit of a fortunate break, but they created it. The next goal, we’re just soft in the neutral zone on a puck that got behind us and they score. We got to be harder back there.”
Sunday’s defeat furthered a worrisome trend for the Bruins after they allowed four or more goals for the third time in four games.
The Bergeron line had rare off-night
Despite reuniting with January’s hottest goalscorer in David Pastrnak on Sunday, the Bergeron line was anything but ‘Perfect’.
Save for a Pastrnak one-timer in the early stages of the second period, Boston’s top trio was hardly noticeable. The line combined for six shots on net and four giveaways.
Sunday marked the first contest since Nov. 21 against the Calgary Flames that neither Bergeron, Marchand or Pastrnak produced a point.
Oskar Steen even received some time with Bergeron and Marchand in the third period, but nothing could get the offense going against a Dallas team motivated to bounce back following an embarrassing loss against the Washington Capitals a couple of nights ago.
The former UMaine stopper turned away 12 of 14 shots over the final 32 minutes against the Stars in what was essentially mop-up duty at that point in the contest.
“I think most of the goals you can’t put on the goaltender,” Cassidy said. “I thought our goaltenders weren’t the problem tonight at all. Just too many easy chances for them.”
Cassidy felt that getting Swayman back in between the pipes would prove beneficial given Tuukka Rask’s uncertainty. The sixth-year coach said it’s highly unlikely Rask returns before the break as he hasn’t even been skating.
Barring any changes with Rask’s status, one of Swayman or Ullmark will get the nod for Boston’s final game on Tuesday against the Seattle Kraken before the time off.
Bruins Daily is a NHL credentialed media organization that is dedicated to being the leading provider of Boston Bruins news, analysis, and commentary, by focusing exclusively on the Boston organization. Bruins Daily provides written content, studio produced video, and on location video, all with a unique voice that fans can relate to. Complete coverage is provided through all of the latest NHL/AHL news, updates, scores, injuries, transactions and fan events.