Bruins know early deficit is 'not a good recipe for winning games'

Bruins know early deficit is 'not a good recipe for winning games'

NASHVILLE – The Bruins had a particularly vexing brand of frustration as they ushered out of Bridgestone Arena on Monday night after dropping a 5-3 game to a red-hot Nashville Predators group on their home ice.

The Bruins outshot the Predators by a 40-25 margin and seemed to control healthy chunks of the 60-minute game at both ends of the ice, and they even finished strong with a couple of goals scored in a third-period barrage. But the B’s also piled up the defensive zone breakdowns and so-so goaltending in the opening 25 minutes of the game, and that was too much to overcome after falling behind by a four-goal margin.

“Digging yourself a 4-0 deficit is certainly not a good recipe for winning games,” said David Backes. “The second half of the game was much better, but it was too little, too late. We need to start on time.”


A long Anton Khudobin rebound turned into goal No. 1 for the Predators on the stick of Craig Smith, and Torey Krug vacated his defensive position to open up a free lane for Smith to score his second goal after a perfectly chipped pass from Kevin Fiala. Nick Bonino scored on a scramble in front of the Boston net just two minutes into the third period, and then Kevin Fiala twisted Zdeno Chara into a defensive pretzel on a drive to the net before again beating Khudobin with the shot.

The Bruins had their problems with a Kevin Fiala-Kyle Turris-Craig Smith line that accounted for three goals, seven points and a plus-6 rating for the game, but the Bruins acknowledged afterward it was much more about shooting themselves in the foot.

"The [Predators] are pretty deep, they play hard, but they didn’t really deserve a lot. We just kind of gave it to them. It’s tough to lose like that,” said Brad Marchand, who finished with an assist as one of only three plus players on the Bruins roster along with linemates David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. “We did a good job of pushing back and making it a game, but we need wins.

“You can’t give a good team like that so many good scoring opportunities. . . especially unforced. I thought we played the better out of the two teams. No matter the score I thought we played better than they did, but we just gave up a few chances they capitalized on.”

There were some positives to be taken from a strong showing against a quality opponent in Nashville that’s playing close to the top of their game. The Bruins enjoyed plenty of offensive chances, they finished with 40 shots on net and they showed ample heart and character in clawing back from a four-goal deficit.

But they also let a winnable game slip through their fingers through simple mistakes and mediocre goaltending, and that’s a losing formula we saw far too much of from the Bruins in the first six weeks of the season.  


Morning Skate: Want any cheese with that whine, Isles?


Morning Skate: Want any cheese with that whine, Isles?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while trying to figure out when exactly I’m going to be able to go see the new Star Wars movie.

*The New York Islanders were crying in their beer over the fact that Brad Marchand side-stepped a suspension and claimed it was because John Tavares didn’t writhe around, kick and scream on the ice like a soccer player. The truth is the play wasn’t the kind of thing that’s going to injure a player under normal circumstances but was clearly a late, uncalled for hit. That’s why it got the five-minute major penalty and nothing more. Threatening to give an award-winning acting performance next time in order to try and get a suspension for an opposing player just sounds like crybaby soup from the Isles. Buckle the chin strap and get ready to play a contact sport next time, particularly if you’re Tavares, who was hacking at Charlie McAvoy’s legs with your stick like you’re Paul Bunyan chopping at a piece of wood. It works both ways, you know?

*The Winnipeg Jets continue to be one of the excellent, unsung stories of the NHL’s first half as they really take hold at the top of the Western Conference.

*Here’s a good piece on Jonathan Quick and what his good health has meant to a resurgent Los Angeles Kings team this season.

*Former Boston College standout goalie Thatcher Demko is way ahead of schedule in the Vancouver Canucks organization, but they’re not looking to rush him.

*Here’s a great video of a youngster playing the Star-Spangled Banner on the violin prior to a New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden. Well done, young lady!

*Pro Hockey Talk as the details of the Ducks and Red Wings getting into a fight on Monday night ahead of the Bruins traveling to Hockeytown for a Wednesday night showdown.

*For something completely different: A list of the 10 actors who could replace Ben Affleck as Batman now that DC has given up the charade that they’re not intending to replace him underneath the cowl.


Spooner travels with Bruins but questionable for Detroit


Spooner travels with Bruins but questionable for Detroit

BRIGHTON, Mass – Ryan Spooner has practiced in each of the past two days, but his status is still in question for the back-to-back Bruins games against the Red Wings and Capitals over the next couple of days.

Spooner has missed the past couple of games with a lower-body injury after playing in the previous five contests following a month-long layoff with a groin injury. The current injury is believed to be similar in nature to the original groin problem and that’s the reason the Bruins are treating it cautiously as they approach Wednesday night’s game in Detroit.


“He’s practicing fully with the team, and the long and short of it is that he’s still day-to-day. We’ll decide [on Wednesday] but we just want to keep moving forward with him,” said Bruce Cassidy, who also mentioned that Kevan Miller was missing from practice to be with his wife for the birth of their child. “We’ve had a couple of stops and starts with him, so we’re going to manage it to the best of our ability so we’re moving forward [in his recovery]. He’ll travel with the team, and if we decide that he’s in the lineup [vs. the Red Wings] then Donnie [Sweeney] and I will talk about how that’s going to affect our roster.”

Spooner has played 10 games this season, with a goal and four points in the intermittent action. It’s too bad as Spooner has been pretty good when healthy and has played with speed and a higher level of competitiveness this season when he’s actually suited up.

The problem with Spooner’s return at this point, however, is that the Bruins have a third line of Danton Heinen, Riley Nash and David Backes that’s been gaining traction in recent days and had a monster game vs. Arizona last week. A return from injured reserve for Spooner would mean that the Bruins finally have to make a tough roster choice. Either put a player such as Frank Vatrano on waivers or send a young player such as Sean Kuraly down who deserves to stay based on his performance.

With Spooner’s status in question for the next two games, here are the line combos and D-pairings from Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena with Tuukka Rask set to get the start Wednesday night in Detroit: