Talking Points: 'Unacceptable' performance in loss to Red Wings
Tomas Tatar finished with a goal and three points along with a plus-4 rating, and teamed with Dylan Larkin to give the Bruins defense major fits throughout the game. Tatar’s big moment arrived when he was sprung free for a breakaway when Brandon Carlo fell down, and managed to sneak a puck through Tuukka Rask even though the Bruins goalie had closed up his five-hole. Tatar finished with six shot attempts in 18:29 of ice time along with a registered hit, and was a constant threat pushing the pace with his speed throughout the game. Tatar and Larkin haven’t been great for Detroit this season on a consistent enough basis but they were on Wednesday night.
David Backes was moved back to center in a surprise change prior to the start of the game, and early in the contest it looked like the forward combo tweaks were going to work for the Black and Gold. But the Backes/Ryan Spooner combo was a liability for the Bruins and both players finished a minus-3 in the shootout loss. Backes routinely left his coverage area in the slot as the team’s center, and left it open with Spooner as the last line of defense in the area of the net. That led to a couple of goals and several times that the Red Wings attackers had them pinned down in the defensive zone without hope of escape. Backes looked slow and rusty at the center position with just a single shot on net in his 15:35 of ice time.
Clearly the turning point was the second period when the Bruins completely blew a 4-1 lead with mistakes, sloppy play and times where it seemed like they were playing a prevent defense rather than continuing to push. But the Bruins lost the crucial point on a couple of weird Tuukka Rask save attempts in the shootout where he was completely frozen by Thomas Vanek on a shot glove-side high, and then Rask leaped forward to his belly with Frans Nielsen in the high slot giving the Red Wings forward an easy shot at an open net. The difference between a 6-5 shootout win and the actual 6-5 shootout loss to Detroit could be an important one in the grand scheme of things.
Patrice Bergeron finished with a power play goal and three points in a huge first period, and four shot attempts and two registered hits in 19:58 of ice time. The Bruins No. 1 center also won 19-of-25 face-offs in a dominant performance on the draw, and was his usual two-zone self during the game. It was a nice bounce-back performance for No. 37 after a tough day against the Islanders on Monday afternoon, but it doesn’t change the result that doesn’t help the Bruins at all. Give Bergeron credit for going to bat for his head coach, Claude Julien, prior to the game on NBCSN, but the coach needed the B’s to actually win on the ice for him. They couldn’t manage to do that.
BY THE NUMBERS
3 – the lead that the Bruins had in both the first period and second period over the Red Wings before completely blowing it on the way to a shootout loss at Joe Louis Arena. Just a brutal collapse.
QUOTE TO NOTE
"We have to find a way. It's unacceptable, what's happened the last two games." – Patrice Bergeron, to reporters in Detroit after the Bruins followed up their 4-0 shutout loss to the Isles by blowing a pair of three-goal leads to the Red Wings in a shootout loss on Wednesday night.