For whatever reason, the second period continues to be a thorn in the Bruins’ side.
After giving up two goals in the second in Saturday’s loss to Montreal, the Bruins allowed four Minnesota goals in the middle frame en route to a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of the Wild.
Malcolm Subban, making his second-career NHL start, was pulled after allowing three goals, including two in the span of twelve seconds in that middle period.
Zane McIntyre came off the bench to make his NHL debut after Ryan Suter’s PPG made it 3-0 midway through the second.
Subban finished the night with three goals-against on 16 shots, while McIntyre allowed two on 17.
It’s easy to try to place the blame on the young goalies, but truthfully, the real problem was the team in front of them.
Claude Julien bemoaned players taking shortcuts and making cheap plays instead of sticking to the system.
Zdeno Chara cited a lack of focus that came back to bite the team.
Patrice Bergeron pointed to a poor effort overall that led to the team letting its young goalies down.
It’s becoming a disconcerting trend for the Bruins: one goal against suddenly turns into two, and then the whole night is lost as the team tries to play catch-up.
Consider: the Bruins have played six games, and have trailed in every single one of them. They’ve yet to score the first goal in a game.
With the team heading out on the road for four in a row starting tonight in New York City, things could get worse before they get better.
- Hard not to feel for Malcolm Subban. The first goal he allowed came after the Bruins did a terrible job of not clearing the puck out from the front of the net, and Charlie Coyle’s toss through a forest of legs somehow snuck through. When Chris Stewart was left all alone in the slot 12 seconds later, you could tell the kind of night it was going to turn into. The 22-year-old Subban has now made two NHL starts, and has been pulled in each. The talent is there, as is the desire. However, for a kid who missed the better part of a year with a broken throat, it’s going to take some time for things to get back to normal, and this wasn’t an ideal situation. The Bruins are going to have to be careful with Subban going forward, as they risk completely shattering his confidence with more performance’s like last night.
- Adam McQuaid returned to the lineup last night and made his impact felt, just not in the way he would’ve liked. McQuaid showed signs of serious rust, looking a step behind on several plays. He was beaten at the blue line right before Coyle’s goal, took the penalty that led to Suter’s goal and got worked over in the corner prior to Zucker’s goal. In McQuaid, the Bruins know what they have. At some point, the team needs to start wondering how much more he provides than, say, a Joe Morrow or Rob O’Gara, who have yet to reach their NHL ceilings. McQuaid deserves a few games to get his skates underneath him, but last night’s wasn’t a promising start.
- Both middle lines looked better at times for the Bruins last night, but things still are far from clicking. The Moore-Spooner-Hayes line had a few decent chances and spells of solid puck possession, but couldn’t put the puck in the net. Matt Beleskey, promoted to Krejci’s line by default, couldn’t do much with his chances either. Danton Heinen looks OK, but hasn’t done much to impress thus far. When Backes is healthy, chances are one of Hayes or Heinen heads to the press box for a game. Don’t be surprised if Claude uses the healthy scratch as a motivational tool in the coming games.
- The fourth line actually looked pretty good last night, which is quite a feat. Tim Schaller looks determined to stay out of Rhode Island. Noel Acciari is playing a physical game and seems to be great at getting under the skin of opposing players. Moore and Riley Nash can be swapped in and out of that line without much change. It’s not ideal to have your fourth line be a lone bright spot, but hey, better than nothing.
- I saw Frank Vatrano up in the press box last night, and he’s getting around without the scooter. He’s still pretty far from returning, but being able to walk around with just the boot shows that he’s on the road to recovery.
What happens tonight in Manhattan? Good question.
It looks like Tuukka Rask still won’t be ready, but who knows. MSG isn’t exactly a great place for a kid to make his first-career start, nor is it a great place for a 22-year-old seeking confidence to make his third.
Julien is probably going to have to roll with the same lines as last night, unless Backes is ready to return. If it’s the same groups, someone on the middle lines needs to contribute. Period. The team can’t keep leaning on Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak.
Things could get ugly for the Bruins in a hurry. Tonight’s game marks the start of four-straight on the road, and none is a gimme: at the Rangers, at Detroit, at Tampa, at Florida.
Should the Bruins not be able to pull out a W at some point, we’re looking at a 3-7-0 start heading into November, and the calls for the coach’s job and drastic changes will start.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Let’s aim small with goals for tonight: how about scoring first?