The Boston Bruins couldn’t recover from a three-goal deficit after the first period and failed to provide a full 60-minute effort, as the team fell 4-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights tonight at the TD Garden.
Max Pacioretty netted two goals in Vegas’ win.
The Bruins struggled to find their footing in the first period, as Bruce Cassidy said mentally it “took us a while to check in.”
Whatever the case might have been – scrambled lines, post road-trip fatigue, missing Craig Smith or the absence of energy Brad Marchand provides – the Bruins were outskated to the puck and found themselves playing catch up after the opening 20 minutes.
While the first few shifts from the Bruins looked promising, the Golden Knights seized their opportunities in the offensive zone and set the pace midway through the first period.
The Golden Knights took the lead at 13:04 of the first period.
Up high, Ben Hutton hit Shea Theodore with a one-timer that flew over Jeremy Swayman’s blocker with traffic out front. 1-0 Vegas.
Shea Theodore from Copley Square pic.twitter.com/BjhEGXtfgK— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 15, 2021
The Golden Knights extended their lead at 15:19 of the first period.
Chandler Stephenson found Pacioretty at the far blue line where he gained a clean entry into the offensive zone to carry the puck to the slot for a shot past Swayman’s blocker. 2-0 Golden Knights.
11 goals in the last 11 games— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 15, 2021
can someone please confirm if that's good pic.twitter.com/64g3kfMi7o
Vegas cushioned their lead at 19:59 of the first period with 0.6 seconds on the clock on the power play.
From the top of the right face-off circle, Jonathan Marchessault sent a wrist shot on net that deflected off Tomas Nosek and Brandon Carlo and past Swayman. 3-0 Vegas.
Although it was an unfortunate deflection, Vegas’ third goal sealed the Bruins’ fate, as the team couldn’t recover from the deficit.
Overall the Knights were better in the neutral zone which led to cleaner entries to start the second period.
The Bruins had a hard time winning puck battles and sustaining quality chances in the offensive zone as the B’s defense couldn’t keep the puck in. The Golden Knights’ forechecking game was also on-point which didn’t help the Bruins’ out.
The Golden Knights further extended their lead at 5:06 of the second period on Pacioretty’s second goal of the night.
Mark Stone left a pass for Pacioretty along the right side where he carried it towards the high slot for a wrister that trickled through Swayman’s five-hole. 4-0 Golden Knights.
pouring rain in Vegas, pouring goals in Boston ☔️ pic.twitter.com/FV0kJj2TC0— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) December 15, 2021
Swayman didn’t have his best game. He was off in his positioning at times and that last goal was one he’d want back. While he could have been pulled, Swayman remained in the game and did make some big saves to not widen the scoring gap more.
The B’s got off to a strong start in the final frame with the team’s top line getting to work early.
The Bruins cut into their deficit 21 seconds into the third period.
Taylor Hall found Patrice Bergeron in the slot for a one-timer past Robin Lehner’s stick. 4-1 game.
Patrice Bergeron gets Boston on the board.— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) December 15, 2021
4-1 Vegas. pic.twitter.com/VKFXM1YgH0
But the Bruins struggled to keep that energy up despite the forwards having their best looks in the third period.
Although goaltending was a factor tonight, the Bruins didn’t do enough to generate offense. The shot count was about even (25-24 Vegas), but maybe half of those shots were actual scoring opportunities.
There were also only two penalties called during the game, both of which came in the first period. The Golden Knights shifted the game’s tempo on their one chance at the end of the first which dug a deep hole the Bruins couldn’t find their way out of.
The Bruins will hit the road for a three-game trip with the New York Islanders up first on Thursday December 16 at 7:30 pm.