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Recap: Bruins fall - hard - to Red Wings in shootout

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It’s not the loss in the shootout that stings. It’s whatever fallout will come from this week’s shoddy efforts.

This came from a 2016 article singing the end of Julien. Has his time come?
Coach Claude Julien looks for answers.
NBC Pro Hockey Talk

Oy. Let’s just get this out of the way, eh?

First Period

The Bruins have heard the criticism over the last few days, without a doubt. Coach Claude Julien gave the team the day off from practice on Tuesday in advance of this game, and I’d bet he gave them a good reading of the riot act before sending them home. Forty-four seconds in, Frank Vatrano cleaned up his own rebound in the crease for his 4th goal of the season. Detroit tried to challenge the zone entry as offsides on the play, but it stood. 1-0.

Recent trade target Brandon Carlo benefits from some great penalty-kill forecheck from His Holiness Patrice Bergeron, who throws the puck rinkwide to Brad Marchand. Marchand backs off the net, draws a defender and lays a light pass to the top of the left circle for a one-timer from Carlo; 2-0.

A great hand-eye play to keep the offensive zone and a deft drop-pass from David Backes to Vatrano, and he pots his second, chasing Red Wings goalie Jared Coreau in favor of Petr Mrazek. 3-0.

And there was much rejoicing.

Too much rejoicing. Detroit forward Dylan Larkin makes a cross-ice pass to Tomas Tatar, outruns Vatrano to Tuukka’s net, and scores. 3-1.

Bergeron tips home a Torey Krug slap-pass with deflection intended. 4-1.

If this game could’ve ended after one period, that would’ve been great. Powerplay success, a shortie for the rookie, and two for the up-and-coming sniper. Alas, the Bruins still needed to close out this game. Let’s press on, shall we?

Second Period

If the first period was the hope that Bruins fans needed, the second was quite literally the polar opposite. The team came out flat, chasing the puck and allowing several close calls before Detroit defenseman Xavier Ouellet fired a knuckler over Tuukka’s glove. 4-2.

Five minutes later, the Bruins still chasing in their defensive zone, fall victim to noted Bruins killer Tomas Vanek. Caught in his gaze, the Bruins froze while he controlled the puck behind the net and gets a(n admittedly great) pass to Andreas Athanasiou in the slot. 4-3.

Brandon Carlo, still stunned by Vanek’s handsome face, loses an edge in front of the B’s bench, which allows Tatar to saunter into the Bruins zone after the puck. Zdeno Chara is big, but not big enough to cover all that ground from the left point back to the B’s net, and Tatar manages to chip a backhand hard enough to deflect in off Tuukka. Milk crates everywhere shuddered. 4-4.

Adam McQuaid gets a fortunate deflection off Detroit D Jonathan Ericsson’s stick in front to put the Bruins back up before the end of the 2nd. 5-4.

The team manages to stave off further damage in this period.

Third Period

A bit better start than the second, with some inspired play from the team, generating five shots in the first two minutes. While it wasn’t the fiery start the first period showed, it was some life, and hope that maybe the Bruins had renewed their determination to pull this game off for their coach.

A bit of penalty trouble hit at the midway point, with a “pretty classic interference” call (to quote Jack Edwards, and honestly, he’s right) on Austin Czarnik. The Bruins were able to kill the penalty, but couldn’t apply enough pressure after returning to even strength. The hits (literal) were coming, but Detroit was able to retain possession after most, and began generating sustained pressure on the Bruins around the five-minute mark. It wasn’t long before the Bruins cracked. Gustav Nyquist dodged Krug, boxed out Spooner, and had his stick in the right place to tip a centering attempt by Larkin, tying the game with just 3 minutes to go. 5-5.

An ABSURD roughing call to David Pastrnak just 20 seconds later would put the Bruins on the kill, but they were once again successful, sending this one to extra hockey.

Overtime

3-on-3 hockey is just simply exciting. There’s so much space to work with that chances came at both ends, and it’s pretty rare to see a team dominate the OT, giving the game a chance to go either way. We remember, however, that the Bruins had two three-goal leads in the first period. If you watched, like me, you were likely on the edge of your seat the entire time. No goal was scored, and this game went to the tiebreaker.

Shootout

Watch for yourself.

After saves on Athanasiou and Spooner, Marchand scores to match Vanek’s tally, Frans Nielsen scores, and Frank Vatrano misses. 6-5, Red Wings, final score.

Observations

The team truly screwed the pooch in this game, and may have screwed their coach in the process. Time will tell, but the fact that now-considered-’veteran’ players like Ryan Spooner STILL can’t stick-check someone in front of his own net to save the game is an abhorrent reminder that this team has some serious distance to cover before they’re back in the race to perennial contender status. It was nice to see the energy in the first, but a flushable second and a failure to close out the third before losing in extra time - for the second loss of the week to a non-playoff team, in JANUARY, not early November - stings bad.

The rest of this week, and month, will give us all some answers. It may not be the answers we want to hear, but the ownership may decide to step in before Cam Neely and Don Sweeney can execute their multiyear plan. Heads will roll, and whether it’s players, the head coach, or the front office, it will happen this year.