Regulation losses starting to impact B's in standings

Regulation losses starting to impact B's in standings

For a team that’s lost out on a playoff spot in each of the last two seasons by one measly point, the Boston Bruins are once again paving the way for something like that to happen to them again this season.

The Bruins started the day on Sunday in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, a single point behind the Florida Panthers and three points behind the final wild card spot in the East. They’re also the only NHL team that hasn’t managed to collect at least one “loser point” for pushing a game into overtime or the shootout before eventually losing the game. Instead they’ve dropped a one goal game to the Calgary Flames on Friday night, and lost a couple of one goal games to Montreal and Minnesota after getting scored on in the final minute of the third period when it appeared that overtime was well within their grasp.

That’s three points the Bruins have let slip right through their gloved fingers, and right now that’s the difference between the Black and Gold being in or out of the playoffs if the regular season ended this weekend. It’s something that should, and does, have the antennae up for the Bruins players that don’t want history to repeat itself again this season for the third year in a row.

“It’s three or four points now that we’ve let slip through our fingers,” said Torey Krug. “You can go back to Montreal or Minnesota, or even [Friday] night against Calgary, we have the opportunity to come away with points, and we need to realize that. You don’t want to say ‘hey, let’s play to a tie’ because then you’re not feeling like yourself, and then all of a sudden you’re sitting on your heels and they’re scoring.

“But we need to realize there are some points to be had, and at the end of the year we don’t want to look back at certain games where we let a few get away there. We’ll probably have to talk about that as a group.”

The Bruins have also won five of those one goal games in regulation, so it’s not all bad for the Black and Gold. But the good teams, the playoff teams are able to make a push while busting through for a goal in the third period during games like Friday’s loss to Calgary, and at least drag themselves into overtime before taking their chances in the 3-on-3 overtime session.

Some of it is about a lack of offense for this Bruins team right now that can’t push for goals when they need them, and some of it is about sheer force of will that needs to take over a little more for a Black and Gold group three years removed from the playoffs now.

Whatever the case, the Bruins need to solve this regulation loss problem right now and find a way to accumulate some stray points even when it’s clear that it might not ultimately be their night in the win-loss column. 

Banged-up Bruins lose two more -- Rick Nash, McQuaid

Banged-up Bruins lose two more -- Rick Nash, McQuaid

BOSTON – It’s another day and another injured player, or two, for the Boston Bruins.

Veteran right winger Rick Nash was a late scratch for the Bruins on Monday night against the Blue Jackets after getting banged up in last weekend’s win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid had to exit due to injury in the third period of Monday night’s 5-4 overtime loss at TD Garden.  

“[Nash] got hit in Tampa, so we thought he was fine. He had an upper-body injury,” said Bruce Cassidy. “This morning, pregame skate, we thought he’d be fine, and it turned out after pregame skate, early afternoon, he wasn’t. So, you know, we had to make a call for Anton Blidh.”

The Nash absence forced the Bruins to recall Blidh from Providence on emergency recall and plug him into the lineup not using him in the last couple of road games in Florida, and it also pushed 21-year-old rookie Ryan Donato into a top-6 role alongside David Krejci in his NHL debut. Clearly things worked out for Donato with a 1-goal, 3-point performance in his first NHL game, and that along with some quality organizational depth is helping them withstand some of the injuries.

McQuaid was held to just 10:42 of ice time that was the fewest among all Bruins D-men on Monday night, but it was unclear exactly what befell him on the ice injury-wise.  

It is getting a little ridiculous for a Bruins team that’s missing Patrice Bergeron (fractured right foot), Zdeno Chara (upper body), Jake DeBrusk (upper body), Charlie McAvoy (sprained left MCL), David Backes (right leg laceration) and now may have to go without Nash (upper body) and McQuaid (undisclosed) as well. Clearly it’s something the Bruins will have to play through for the time being while simply hoping that it all conveniently clears up ahead of the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

“You know, you call a player up [from the AHL], right? We signed one out of college; that helped. So, that’s it. [The injuries] are uncontrollable to a certain extent. It’s kind of enough, now. I would agree. We’ve had our share, so let’s get these guys healthy and get ready to play,” said Cassidy. “I don’t know. You’ve got to play the game in front of you and you just hope the string of, kind of, tough luck, is over.

“That’s it. It’s a physical game. We’ve said all along, to have successful seasons, both regular and playoffs, you need a certain level of health. That’s what we’re hoping, that these guys come back, and that’s it. Until then, we plug the holes and play the game in front of you.”

Plugging those holes will continue to get more and more challenging if the Bruins keep losing players from their lineup on a nightly basis as they may have on Monday with both Nash and McQuaid now banged up as well.


NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

NBC Sports Boston Photo

NBC Sports Boston Breakfast Pod: Donato impresses in NHL debut

1:13 - Joe Haggerty joins from the TD Garden to discuss the non-call on Brad Marchand’s breakaway, Ryan Donato shining in his NHL debut, and when Patrice Bergeron could be returning.

6:16 - Gary Tanguay, Mike Giardi, and Trenni Kusnierek debate if the Patriots are starting to replace the talent they’ve lost this offseason as they have acquired Adrian Clayborn, Jeremy Hill, and Jason McCourty. 

11:01 - A. Sherrod Blakely joins Boston Sports Tonight to talk about the Celtics continuing to struggle as the injuries have piled up.