Talking Points: Lack of energy dooms Bruins


Talking Points: Lack of energy dooms Bruins

GOLD STAR: Leon Draisaitl had five giveaways and got smoked by Noel Acciari on a heavy hit in the third period, but he also came up with the play to win the game for an Oilers group that needed something to build on. Draisaitl bombed down the left wing, put the Bruins defense on their heels and then fed Ryan Strome for the scoring wrist shot from the slot midway through the third period. Draisaitl then picked up a goal on the empty netter to ice things in the final minute of the third period, but it was a nice little finish to the game after the big Edmonton center had a pretty slow start to the game. It just goes to show you how much talent the Oilers have on that roster that’s completely underachieved to this point in the season.

BLACK EYE: A very difficult, uneven game for Torey Krug that ended with more bad plays than good for the Bruins puck-moving defenseman. It was Krug’s weak clear attempt off the boards that ended up setting things up for Edmonton on their first goal, and then it was Krug as part of a very poor five man unit trying to defend on the game-winning goal for the Oil. The Bruins D-man tried to make up for it by blocking a shot in the closing minute that was destined for the empty net, but appropriate for the whole game the puck went right back to Draisaitl for the empty net goal to ice the game. In all Krug finished with a minus-2 along with two assists, and was involved in his 19:36 of ice time in nearly everything that happened both good and bad in defeat.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins essentially lost the game in the second period when they came into the frame protecting a 1-0 lead, and left in a tied hockey game after getting outshot by a 17-5 margin in the middle 20 minutes. The Bruins were outhustled, outmuscled and outworked by the Oilers at the end of a long East Coast road trip, and generally looked like a team that didn’t want to empty the bucket for the two points. Edmonton finished behind Boston in the registered hit battle (31-to-27) and in the blocked shots category (11-to-5), a couple of clear examples where they weren’t working as hard as the Oilers in this one.

HONORABLE MENTION: Call Patrick Maroon a certified Bruins killer because he once again did some major damage against the Black and Gold. Maroon scored his sixth goal against the Bruins in the last three seasons when he opened Edmonton’s scoring with a quick strike on the Boston net after a cross-ice pass from Zack Kassian. Predictably Maroon scored by shooting high on Tuukka Rask to the short side when he didn’t have time to shut off the post, and it was one of four shots on net for the Edmonton power forward. Maroon also stepped up to Zdeno Chara briefly after the B’s captain mugged Connor McDavid in the corner during a testy second period exchange.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 – the number of points Tuukka Rask has accumulated in 13 appearances this season, which is only a 1/3 of the 24 points for the Bruins this season. Rask’s won-loss record dropped to a brutal 3-8-2-with the defeat to the Oilers.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “We were fortunate there to make a good play [on the PP goal], but that couldn’t kick-start us, in terms of energy, to extend the lead. It’s disappointing. You’re at home. We’ve played well of late. We started well Friday, just didn’t have it tonight.” –Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, disappointed at the lack of energy in Boston’s game on Sunday vs. Edmonton. 


Backes cut by errant skate blade in scary incident during Tampa game

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Backes cut by errant skate blade in scary incident during Tampa game

TAMPA – It’s always scary when errant skate blades injure players on the ice, and that appeared to be the case in Tampa Bay on Saturday night as David Backes rushed off the ice after a scrum in the Lightning end. 

It appeared that Yanni Gourde’s skate blade cut Backes in the right thigh area after he went down to his knees while heading toward the Tampa net, and the Bruins power forward immediately skated off the ice while putting no weight on his right leg. It wasn’t immediately known whether Backes would return to the game or not for a Bruins team that was already missing Patrice Bergeron, Jake DeBrusk, Zdeno Chara and Charlie McAvoy from the lineup with injuries. 

Backes had been moved up to the Bruins top line for Saturday night’s big game against the Lightning as a result of those injuries, and scored one of Boston’s two first period goals in taking an early lead against the Atlantic Division-leading Bolts. We’ll have more updates as they come in on Backes from Tampa Bay after that scary incident in the final minute of the first period.

UPDATE: Backes suffered a laceration above his right knee that required several stitches to close. He is resting and won't be returning to tonight's game, per Bruins


Slowed after a hot start, Rick Nash looking to 'open up the gates' on offense

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Slowed after a hot start, Rick Nash looking to 'open up the gates' on offense

TAMPA, Fla. – Rick Nash stormed in smoking hot for the Bruins after his trade to Boston ahead of the NHL trade deadline. He had two goals, three points and a whopping 15 shots on net in the three games after jumping into the lineup.

But it’s been a bit of an offensive slowdown for Nash with one goal and two points in his past seven games on Boston’s second line as they’ve shouldered a bit more offensive responsibility with Patrice Bergeron out. Nash, 33, it’s been par-for-the-course for a career where goals have come in bunches and offense moves in bursts that have become more spread out as he’s gotten a little older.

“It seems like my whole career I’ve always scored in bunches,” said Nash. “The chances are there. That’s the positive thing, but usually, it takes a funny one to go in to open up the [flood] gates. If we get a bit more traffic around the goalie it helps, and get a few more shots from the inside than the outside, where it’s tougher to score. You look at the highlights every night and the goals are all scored right around the net.”

Nash has enjoyed his share of chances in those seven games with 23 shots on net and at Carolina on Tuesday night was the only real stinker for him among the bunch. He's been around the net with his 6-4, 220-pound frame, working on the chemistry with David Krejci and actually skating better than most around the Bruins might have hoped for such a big-bodied player.

So, Bruce Cassidy is expecting his big power forward to finish some of those chances as he heats up a little bit offensively.

“I think he’s had one game where he didn’t have very many opportunities, but other than that he’s been around the net every night. It just hasn’t gone in as much as we had hoped,” said Cassidy. “So I don’t know him well enough to know whether that’s a trend, or if he’s just a little snake-bitten.”

The bottom line with Nash is that he’s consistently been a beast around the net and a puck possession force that can’t be derailed by defensive players attempting to take the puck from him. It will be interesting tonight for Nash playing against a number of his former teammates with ex-Rangers Ryan Callahan, J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh now all members of the Tampa Bay Lightning. That familiarity, along with the teams vying for the Atlantic Division top spot, should make it a special night for Nash along several lines.

“His size is his biggest asset I think, and the way he can hold onto it and control the play. Sometimes he grabs the puck and you can’t take it off his hands. He reminds me a little of Jaromir Jagr when you played him, and he sticks his butt into you and you can’t do much with it,” said former New York Rangers captain and current Lightning forward Callahan. “It’s tough to see him go to Boston where it’s a divisional rivalry, but I know what kind of guy he is, what kind of player he is…and that’s a huge pickup for Boston.”

In a huge game against the Lightning, who the B's are chasing. Facing his old Rangers buddies, Saturday night would certainly be a perfect time for the Nash goal-scoring floodgates to open for an undermanned Bruins team looking to make a stand.