Talking points: Bruins struggle to score again in loss to Leafs
Pretty impressive work by a guy in Matt Hunwick that seemed like he wasn’t going to stick around the NHL for very long after his stint with the Bruins. Instead he’s turned things into a long NHL career, and he was the ice time leader for the Leafs on Saturday night with 25:35 of work to go along with two assists and a plus-2 rating. Hunwick also blocked four shots and logged 1:08 of shorthanded ice time in largely successful efforts to shut down the Bruins offense. Hunwick has really found a home in Toronto where Mike Babcock is giving him plenty of ice time and opportunity, and that’s all he’s needed to carve out a very solid career on the back end where he just keeps getting better.
Austin Czarnik had some very good offensive chances that he couldn’t bury, and personified the offensive struggles that the Bruins have finishing off plays. He fanned on a perfect chance in the slot, and then went wide with a shot on a bang-bang shorthanded play in front in the third period just prior to the Maple Leafs bagging the insurance goal they needed. Czarnik finished with 12:08 of ice time and a minus-1 rating, and now has zero goals and just two points in his last 15 games as his offensive game has dried up over the last month. While the speed and the skill is clearly present within the 23-year-old Czarnik, it might be time for a little refresher course down in Providence while giving another young forward a try.
The turning point was the third period where Austin Czarnik was right at the front of the net for a shorthanded chance after a heady dish out of the corner by Dominic Moore. Czarnik went wide with the Grade A scoring chance in a 2-1 hockey game, and mere moments later James van Riemsdyk tipped a puck past Tuukka Rask for the backbreaking insurance score that Toronto needed to put things away. It was all over that point and the Bruins were left with the familiar lament of a hockey club that wasn’t able to put away enough of their chances, and instead was talking about frustration and missed chances following the loss.
Brad Marchand scored the only goal for the Bruins, finished with five shots on net and played his typical high-energy game for his 17:39 of ice time. The goal was all him in the second period as he shut down a Frederik Andersen clearing attempt behind the net, wrapped the puck around the other side and then stuffed in the loose puck with a little help from David Backes jamming in front of the net as well. The goal pulls Marchand into the second spot on the Bruins roster in goal-scoring behind David Pastrnak with his eighth lamp-lighter of the year. He’s not quite on pace for his 37 goals of last season, but it’s still pacing for a respectable number for the B’s left winger.
By the numbers:
20 -- the number of times the Bruins have scored two goals or less in their 29 games played thus far during the regular season.
Quote to note:
“It seems like every game we’re out-chancing teams, but we don’t outscore teams. That’s where the biggest issue is right now. Our scoring is not there and if you don’t score goals you don’t win hockey games.” -- Claude Julien, lamenting the offensive struggles of his Bruins team that have been a major issue this season.