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Bruins vs. Rangers 11/8/17 RECAP: Net-front defense? Never heard of it. Bruins lose 4-2

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An absolutely putrid 1st period digs a hole Boston can’t pull itself out of.

Boston Bruins v New York Rangers Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

First Period where all the bad, dumb things happened:

The Bruins came out flat in this first period. Nobody can dispute that. Really, this has been an issue early on, but they normally could rev it up and get back into games.

This however, looked way too much like previous seasons.

First big thing that happened was Pavel Buchnevich taking advantage of the team’s exhaustion after several shifts worth of defending, lifting the puck over Tuukka Rask to make it 1-0 Rangers.

You’ll notice McAvoy and Chara basically allowed him to get to the net unhindered.

This would become a trend.

But not yet! As David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron roared up the wing not 30 seconds later, and Pasta definitely meant to do the following to get the Bruins tied up 1-1.

definitely.

Still an absolutely beautiful goal. Made Henrik look like a grade school goalie.

Of course...then every single Bruin forgot who or what Jimmy Vesey was. And paid for it.

The first goal Vesey got in this period came from a point shot that kept bouncing around in the crease with nobody able to either coral it to Rask or for Rask to get to, and Vesey buried it by finally getting the puck flat. 2-1 Rangers.

The second goal was another point shot, only it bounced behind the net and instead of dealing with Jimmy Vesey, Rob O’Gara decided he was just going to forget where the Puck was. 3-1 Rangers.

O’Gara should be thanking his lucky f___ing stars he’s the best option by default right now. He is not NHL ready.

And so the Bruins left this period with their spirits destroyed and their defense cored, their offense stymied, and solved. Onto the second.

Second Period:

The Bruins tried, but boy did nothing happen.

The team was too willing to give up odd-man rushes, breakouts and opportunities on their goaltender and spent a good portion of this period chasing the play and essentially begging Rask to just not give up another goal, which to his credit, he did.

Boston did close in on shots on goal, but very few were scoring chances of any kind.

Third Period:

THE BRUINS SCORED ANOTHER GOAL IN THIS PERIOD!

Of course, it started with a ridiculous save by Henrik Lundqvist, and the ensuing faceoff got the Bruins rolling, and Patrice Bergeron and his very not-good mustache brought the Bruins within one through a pair of bodies right on top of him! 3-2 Rangers.

Henrik only saw that on the highlight reel on the jumbotron.

Of course, this goal came at a little over 6 minutes into the third, so you’d figure the Bruins would find a way to score on a Henrik Lundqvist who was playing well but flailing around in his crease, right?

Well...no.

The Bruins went right back to the kind of middling, inconsistent neutral zone play and bad defensive pinches that the first and second period were plagued with, and with desperation, Bruce Cassidy pulled Rask.

The B’s didn’t capitalize. Rick Nash did. 4-2 at the very end of the period and that was that.

Their next game is on Friday in Toronto as they take on the Leafs. That game is at 7pm EST on NESN.

Game Notes:

  • Your leaders in puck possession tonight were Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug, Anders Bjork, David Pastrnak and Danton Heinen.
  • Funny thing, I was expecting Carlo to be much worse on the fancystats list given how brutal his timing was for long stretches of the games. But...
  • Look, I don’t want to beat around the bush here: Rask didn’t have a great game, but your defense has to be able to help clear the net front and every. single. defenseman. for Boston couldn’t get a goddamn clear or got ran around. This is especially egregious on Rob O’Gara and Brandon Carlo, who are big enough to be at least an obstacle to the net and made it far too easy for the Rangers to get shots onto him.
  • The near continued giving up of odd-man rushes by Boston’s defense and forward corps of course didn’t make anything easier. This has been a major issue all year and it has not been corrected, and quite frankly...I don’t know how they’d fix this without moving a body.
  • I mean Jesus, the Rangers got almost 20 shots almost directly in front of him. That’s just not good net-front defense.
  • It doesn’t help that the team did absolutely nothing to support Rask in goal tonight on offense. The Kuraly line did alright, the Szwarz line got routinely filled, and the Nash line certainly had the puck...but did nothing with it.
  • Honestly, this game was kind of what I thought last game would be: First line did all the heavy lifting, with all the other ones struggling to establish themselves.
  • NBCSN’s commentary somehow got infinitely worse with more Mike Milbury. What a joyless fart of a human being. I bet he looks at sunny days and expects it to become a torrential downpour.
  • Has pulling the goalie worked this season at all? I feel like it hasn’t.