Bruins

Talking Points from Bruins' 5-4 loss to Canadiens: Offside call the turning point

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Talking Points from Bruins' 5-4 loss to Canadiens: Offside call the turning point

GOLD STAR: Victor Mete was a solid, solid player for the Habs in this one. He opened the scoring in the first period with a nice shot off a deflected puck in front of the Boston net, and then he closed out the second period with a goal that featured bodies flying all around Tuukka Rask in the crease. The goals were Mete’s second and third of the season, and acted as the cherry on top of the sundae on a night when he finished with five shots on net and seven shot attempts in 20:53 of ice time to go along with three blocked shots. Mete was strong at both ends of the ice for Montreal and is part of a Canadiens back end that’s helped the Habs step up their offensive attack this season.

BLACK EYE: Tuukka Rask was not good in this one. It was his worst game of the year as he allowed all five goals on 31 shots and simply missed with his glove on the final Ben Chiarot shot from the face-off circle that he got a clear look at. He was similarly beaten in the first period for a pair of goals within 31 seconds of each other after David Pastrnak scored to tie up the game, and got sucked into some contact in front of the net at the end of the second period instead of battling to try and stop a Victor Mete goal as well. For a guy that’s been pretty much invincible this season between the pipes, Rask finally showed cracks and did it as the well-rested guy behind a team that battled their way to a comeback over Pittsburgh 24 hours earlier. Rask simply didn’t give the B’s a chance to win in Montreal.

TURNING POINT: The turning point was very clearly the third period when Zach Senyshyn fed Charlie Coyle for a goal that would have put the Bruins ahead 5-4 in the third period, and would have finally given them a foothold in a game they were chasing all night. Instead, Coyle was perhaps offside depending upon the interpretation of the rule and it took three minutes for the officials to decide whether or not to overturn the play. Once the goal was taken off the board, the Habs got one more soft goal past Tuukka Rask and that was all it took for the Canadiens to hold on in the third period at a raucous Bell Centre. Afterward, the Bruins were understandably miffed about a questionable challenge review costing them an important divisional game, but then again they also allowed five goals. So they didn’t exactly deserve to win either.

HONORABLE MENTION: Anders Bjork had a hell of a night for the Bruins. He scored his second goal of the season, was in the middle of the third period score that got overturned and led the Bruins with six shots on net in the game. He also a plus-3 in just 12:07 of ice time and was part of a third line with Charlie Coyle and Zach Senyshyn that Bruce Cassidy said was his best line all night in the Tuesday night showdown with the Habs. That is very good news for Bjork as he’d seemed to quiet down a little bit in the last couple of games, and it was natural to wonder if he was regressing a little after an adrenaline-filled start to his stint in Boston. Nope. He played with speed and aggressiveness and scored his goal by getting his nose dirty around the net for a rebound goal. That’s something he was not doing in the last two seasons when he was in Boston.

BY THE NUMBERS: 15 – the number of goals in 15 games this season for David Pastrnak, the fastest a Bruins player has gotten to the 15-goal mark since Peter McNab did it for the B’s way back in 1976-77.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The rule was specifically put in place for egregious [examples]. They were over there for 3 minutes. You think 'What's the purpose of this rule?' Either you find something or you don't...3 minutes. So now you're looking for something to be offsides.” –Bruce Cassidy, not a fan of the coach’s challenge for being offside that overturned a Charlie Coyle goal in the third period that ended up being the difference in the game.

WATCH: Controversial offsides call erases Coyle goal>>>

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Rask knows he 'can't be too satisfied' with the way his game his taken a slide

Rask knows he 'can't be too satisfied' with the way his game his taken a slide

BOSTON – There’s no denying the single biggest common thread through the Bruins' four-game losing streak.

The same Tuukka Rask that was brilliant in the first month of the season has hit a rough patch in November and that tough stretch continued as he coughed up four goals in the third period of a 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Rask is 1-2-1 with a 3.45 goals-against average and .886 save percentage in four November starts and played a starring role as a liability in losses to Montreal and Florida the past week. It was Rask who was beaten in the first minute of the third period on a long-distance Aaron Ekblad shot where the goaltender admitted he was too deep in the net and it was Rask who didn’t shut off the post on Florida’s third goal scored by Mike Hoffman as Florida was storming back in the final 20 minutes.

“I should have been sharper in that third period,” lamented Rask. “There were a couple of soft goals and I let [the Panthers] kind of get some momentum. It’s a 60-minute game and we’ve been on the other side of it.”

It wasn’t quite as bad as the three soft goals he gave up that all clanged off his glove hand last week in Montreal, but it was far from vintage Rask at a time when a few different things are going wrong for the Bruins. Rask is still top five with a 2.16 GAA and eighth in the league with a .926 save percentage, but it’s a far cry from the .951 save percentage he racked up in 10 games in a red-hot October.

Clearly, Rask is going through the same kind of tough stretch that used to greet him the first month of the season, but this time, it’s hitting him after a brief, dominant stretch out of the starting gate. Perhaps the Bruins coaching staff will get a quicker hook with Rask the next time he shows signs of trouble as in the losses against Montreal and Florida, or Jaroslav Halak will be used with a little more frequency until Rask works out the kinks in his game.

At least the B’s No. 1 goaltender isn’t under any illusions about the way he’s played the past few games.

“In Montreal, I sucked. In Detroit, I felt okay. Today, in the last period there were a couple of soft goals, so I can’t be too satisfied,” said Rask. “But, hey, there’s a lot of hockey left.”

While it’s refreshing to hear the kind of accountability  Rask is putting out there, the Bruins aren’t going to go very far if Rask is talking too much about sucking and giving up soft goals. The B’s better hope that their top goalie gets locked back in pretty quickly so both the team and Rask can leave their early-season mini-slumps behind in the rear-view mirror.

 

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NHL Power Rankings: Big shakeup in the Top 10 this week

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NBC Sports Boston Illustration

NHL Power Rankings: Big shakeup in the Top 10 this week

Sure, the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs are months away, but it's never too soon to look ahead, right?

The competition for playoff positioning in the Eastern Conference could be tight, as several teams have surged forward recently, including the Flyers, Panthers and Canadiens — all of which missed the playoffs a season ago.

The picture is also crowded out West, where not many teams have started to separate from the pack as of yet.

How are the Bruins stacking up after a four-game losing streak? And which teams are making leaps forward?

Click here for Joe Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings.>>>>>>

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