What we learned in Bruins' OT loss to Penguins
What we learned in Bruins' OT loss to Penguins
Here’s what we learned in the Bruins' 4-3 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night at PPG Paints Arena.
RASK TO THE RESCUE
Tuukka Rask once again was brilliant. In a game where the Bruins outshot the Pittsburgh Penguins, it was the Penguins that probably had the higher quality chances throughout the evening. Several of his 33 saves stood out, but none were better than shutting down Evgeni Malkin when the Bruins allowed him to get a breakaway coming out of the penalty box and then stoning Conor Sheary after he blew by a stumbling Adam McQuaid in the final minute of the third period to preserve the overtime session. Rask actually outplayed Matt Murray, who allowed a soft goal to Brad Marchand in the first period and then misplayed an exchange behind the Pittsburgh net that led to David Pastrnak’s game-tying strike in the third period. Rask didn’t have a single goal allowed that one would put in that soft serve category, and instead continued to stand tall before getting beaten in overtime on a bad 3-on-3 line change for the Black and Gold. One thing to keep an eye on: Rask is still top-5 with his 1.90 goals against average, but he’s close to dropping out of the top-10 with a .930 save percentage that’s started getting lower in recent weeks. That may be one indication that the Bruins defense is starting to get a little leakier in front of him, but he’s still making a lot of big saves either way.
JIMMY'S GETTING WORSE
Jimmy Hayes needs to sit at the very least. The 6-foot-6 forward actually got 1:45 of ice time on the power play on Wednesday night, and didn’t register a single shot on net while flubbing at least a couple of chances in the slot when he didn’t have his stick down on the ice. Worse than that, Hayes made a soft play along the boards in the neutral zone with Evgeni Malkin coming out of the penalty box, and that turned into a breakaway chance for the Penguins superstar and a penalty on the Bruins that instead put them in the box. The only plays he was making on the ice were negative ones, he wasn’t winning battles anywhere and he barely played aside from the power play chances that seem to inexplicably come his way. Hayes now has one point in his last 43 games dating back to last Feb. 24. More so than Hayes needing to sit (which he probably will with Anton Blidh getting called up to Boston), he needs to go elsewhere after getting months of chances to show anything. He has zero trade value across the league to a Bruins team that would gladly move him at this point, so it’s time for the Bruins to admit the giant Hayes mistake, send the underperforming power forward down to the AHL and find somebody that will be much better than him to install into the lineup. Everybody has seen more than enough at this point, and it’s really too bad it didn’t work out for the local kid that had always dreamed of playing for the Bruins.
GRZELCYK MAKES DEBUT
A good stat for Matt Grzelcyk. It was a bit of trial by fire with Grzelcyk part of a five man unit once Kevan Miller went down in the second period, but the former BU standout and Charlestown native fared pretty well. He finished with under 15 minutes of ice time, but showed a good ability to move the puck, he didn’t panic during any of his situations controlling things on the ice and he even looked confident and capable when given a little bit of power play time at the point. Grzelcyk finished with three shots on net, four shot attempts and a blocked shot, and didn’t have the kind of major missteps that one would be looking for in an offense-leaning D-man making his NHL debut. There’s certainly enough there to want to get another look at him, and for Joe Morrow to start getting nervous that somebody else is about to pass him on the organizational depth chart.
PLUS: TUUKKA RASK
A 33-save night for Tuukka Rask, who was very good despite giving up four goals and ending up on the losing end of things. His stops on Evgeni Malkin roaming free out of the penalty box and a Conor Sheary breakaway in the final minute of the third period were both stellar, and ended up saving the Bruins what could be a valuable point at the end of the season.
PLUS: DAVID PASTRNAK
David Pastrnak finished with a game-tying goal in the third period built on speed and aggressiveness, and ended up with a pair of points along with a plus-2 rating, seven shot attempts, two blocked shots and a couple of hits in 20:38 of ice time.
PLUS: BRAD MARCHAND
It was a weird night for Brad Marchand, who scored a goal and led all skaters with a whopping 10 shots on net. But he also was tacked for a couple of penalties that led to Pittsburgh power play goals: a high-sticking call against head-snapping Sidney Crosby, and a hit from behind that was aided greatly by Kyle Quincey launching himself into the boards just as the ref turned his head to watch the play. Clearly Marchand’s reputation didn’t help, but he was one of Boston’s best players on Wednesday night as well.
MINUS: JIMMY HAYES
Jimmy Hayes: zero shots despite almost two minutes of power play time, and a couple of really good chances he couldn’t even turn into shots on net. The real coup de grace for Hayes was the neutral zone turnover as a penalty expired that turned into a breakaway for Evgeni Malkin as the Penguins star jumped out of the penalty box. He’s doing nothing to help the team, and he’s doing plenty to actively hurt the team when he’s on the ice.
MINUS: MATT MURRAY
Matt Murray finished with 40 plus saves, but he also had at least two goals that were completely on him as well. The goal allowed to Brad Marchand early in the game was a soft serve special, and then he botched playing the puck behind the net that opened the door for David Pastrnak to score his 19th goal of the season. If the Penguins lose the game in OT then that’s a major, major screw up for the rookie netminder.
MINUS: PHIL KESSEL
One shot on net and a minus-1 in 18:48 of ice time for Phil Kessel. Thanks for showing up and giving an honest effort, Phil!