What we learned in Bruins' 3-0 loss to Devils
What we learned in Bruins' 3-0 loss to Devils: Big step backward
Here’s what we learned in the Bruins' 3-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at the Prudential Center:
1) The two-game winning streak against the Sabres was clearly Fool’s Gold
It would seem that it was more about the hapless nature of a Sabres team that couldn’t beat the Bruins this season than it was about a Boston team finally finding their footing. You have to make that judgment when the B's again made so many of the same mistakes that have characterized their malaise-filled games of the past month. There was the sloppy, sluggish start, there were the careless penalties, there was the disappearing act from so many of Boston’s key players and there was a group of offensive players too easily satisfied with outside, perimeter offense. You put it all together and the Bruins had another in a long line of disappointing losses to beatable opponents (Colorado, Toronto, Islanders) over the past month that will be pointed to as the reason they missed the playoffs if they fall short again. This feels much more like more of the same of the past two seasons than something different that will push toward the postseason at the end of the year.
2) Can’t remember the last time I could count the Bruins scoring chances out on one hand
The 22 shots on net was indicative of just how disinterested the B’s were in creating offense around the New Jersey net or jumping on second- and third-chance opportunities close to the crease. Cory Schneider didn’t give up many of them, but the Bruins certainly weren’t where they needed to be to capitalize on them. The Brad Marchand attempt at the goal line that never quite made it all the way over was the only real Grade-A scoring chance, and that fell shot by the slimmest of margins. Other than that Anton Blidh missed the net with a good chance and Patrice Bergeron couldn’t convert on another opportunity as the Bruins missed the net with 14 of their 41 shot attempts. That’s been an ongoing theme for the B’s this season that might look good on their Corsi and puck possession numbers, but doesn’t do a damn thing for them in the actual offense department.
3) Millers stick together
Good for Colin Miller for jumping over the boards and going after Miles Wood after the Devils forward trucked Kevan Miller in the defensive zone. There was zero hesitation by Miller in engaging with Wood as he should have and he caught a few punches as a result before both players tackled each other to the ice. Miller got an extra two minutes for his trouble (which felt like a weak-sauce referee maneuver to give him an instigator-style penalty without actually making that call), but he won a ton of respect with Kevan Miller and the rest of his teammates by doing what needed to be done. Colin Miller was just okay with a minus-1 rating and a shot on net in 16 plus minutes of ice time, but he feels more and more like a confident, comfortable member of this team growing into his skill set than maybe he did even a few months ago. That’s a very good thing for the Bruins.
*Cory Schneider wasn’t tested all that much, but he finished with 22 saves and got himself back on the winning track after some recent struggles. His best job was jumping on that Marchand follow at the end of the first period before it could move any further away from the goal line.
*Sergey Kalinin had a goal and two points along with a plus-2 rating in 15:55 of ice time and won 6-of-12 face-offs while doing a good job in the middle with Travis Zajac out of the lineup. Kalinin tapped in a great Miles Wood setup for the backbreaking goal that truly iced the game for the Devils.
*Miles Wood was only credited with the one assists, but he created the whole play on Jersey’s second goal by starting an odd-man rush with his speed up the wing. He also set the tone a bit when he crunched Kevan Miller with a hit in the first period before dropping the gloves with Colin Miller. That’s some pretty gritty work from a Boston College kid.
*Brad Marchand finished with one shot on net, was a minus-2 and then took four minutes in penalties in the final seven minutes of the third period with the Bruins down a pair of goals and in need of some major offense. That’s not good enough, and he also didn’t have enough oomph on his shot at the goal line to get it into the net at the end of the first period where a goal could have made a big difference.
*Tuukka Rask was just okay on Monday night, and those are the kind of nights when the Bruins lose. Rask kicked a first-period rebound right to Taylor Hall, and then leaped out of position opening things up for P.A. Parenteau on another follow-up in front of the net. Two goals allowed on 25 shots faced is a “meh” kind of evening for Rask, particularly when the Bruins offense looks as disinterested as they did on Monday night.
*The whole team gets a big, fat minus for putting another “no-show” effort against a bad team to go with the regulation losses to the Avalanche, Maple Leafs and Islanders also over the last month of play. Effort and hard-work should be a non-negotiable constant with a limited NHL roster like the one the Bruins have, but sadly it’s not with this group.