Talking Points from the Bruins' Game 2 3-2 OT loss to the Blues

Talking Points from the Bruins' Game 2 3-2 OT loss to the Blues

GOLD STAR: Vladimir Tarasenko and his linemates had an excellent night in Game 2 and showed everybody in the hockey world that the Blues aren’t in the Stanley Cup Final by accident. It was Tarasenko who scored the tying goal with about five minutes go in the second period on a nice individual play where Tuukka Rask made the initial save on him after stopping a Jaden Schwartz shot from a distance.

Tarasenko finished with four shots on net, eight shot attempts and three hits in his 15:50 of ice time and the top line along with Brayden Schenn and Schwartz got pretty much whatever they were looking for tonight. If that continues then the Bruins better watch out.

BLACK EYE: Brad Marchand really hasn’t been very good to start this series. He finished with four giveaways, just two shots on net, and was consistently throwing away pucks, turning the puck over to the Blues and attempting to make passes and plays that simply weren’t there. 

He never really got all that much better as the went along, and for the second game in a row, the Bruins Perfection Line was shut out when it mattered most. Take away Marchand’s empty-net goal at the end of Game 1 and the B’s top trio hasn’t done much of anything in this series. The good news is that they finally figured it out after similarly struggling last round vs. Carolina, but they might not have as much time to figure it out this time around against a good Blues team.

TURNING POINT: It was overtime, baby. The Bruins simply had nothing left in the tank in OT after getting through two-plus periods with Matt Grzelcyk hurt and after the Blues had walloped the B’s with a total of 50 hits throughout a punishing, physical game. St. Louis outshot Boston 4-0 in OT with the B’s basically unable to get the puck out of their zone. Instead, Brandon Carlo dived out of desperation and a delayed penalty was called and Carl Gunnarsson scored the OT winner for the Blues on a rocket from the high point. The Blues had effectively sapped Boston of all their energy by the time the extra session got going and St. Louis was more than happy to extend the pressure and score less than four minutes into OT.  

HONORABLE MENTION: Joakim Nordstrom was probably Boston’s best player and that’s usually a sign of a loss. Still, Nordstrom gave the Bruins a lead in the first period when he managed to tuck a puck through the five-hole of Jordan Binnington for Boston’s second goal of the game. It was Nordstrom’s third goal of the playoffs and he added an epic blocked shot of a Colton Parayko point blast in the second period when he took a searing slapper off his instep trying to kill off a four-minute power play. Nordstrom was successful there and led the Bruins with five blocked shots in a gritty effort for the versatile Swede. He also finished with four shots on net and a couple of hits in his 15:38 of highly effective ice time.

BY THE NUMBERS: 50 – The number of registered hits for the St. Louis Blues, who really rolled up their sleeves and punched the Bruins in the mouth with a physical, smashmouth effort that slowed down Boston’s attack significantly.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “What [the Blues] did was I thought they were on top of us, tighter than they did the first game. They didn’t allow us to get the space. As a result, we didn’t seem to win as many races as we did Game 1 to pucks. Some of that is on us. I don’t think we managed it well enough. I think we got spread out all over the ice. So, give them credit for being tighter than us and getting to pucks first.” --Bruce Cassidy, assessing where things went wrong for the Bruins. 

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Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the B's 4-1 loss to the Avalanche

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Joe Haggerty's Talking Points from the B's 4-1 loss to the Avalanche

Here are my talking points from the Bruins’ first regulation loss at home in 2019-20:

GOLD STAR: It isn’t going to happen very often, but Ian Cole turned out to be the single biggest contributor in a team-wide win for the Avalanche. It was Cole that smoked a slap shot past the glove hand of Jaroslav Halak to give Colorado a 2-1 lead in the second period, and he made certain his first goal of the season was an important one. Cole also blocked five shots in 17:17 of ice time and was part of a gritty, determined effort to protect the lead once the Avs got up 3-1 in the third. He mixed in a couple of hits and a couple of takeaways as well, and made some big plays in what was pretty much a perfect game overall for Colorado.

HIGHLIGHTS: Bruins take first home regulation loss vs. Avs, 4-1

BLACK EYE: There’s more than a few, but how about Danton Heinen just not making the plays that he needs to make when he’s in the lineup? Forget about the zero shots on net in 16:45 of ice time, with a number of them either getting blocked or missing the net. That’s nothing new when it comes to a player that’s barely averaging a shot on net for game. But he also turned the puck over behind the Boston net in a sequence that led to Cole’s game-winner as the Bruins began to run around in the defensive zone. It was that particular play that led Bruce Cassidy to lament that the attention to details was lacking for his players at this point in the season. If Heinen isn’t making the little plays, is a minus player and isn’t bringing any offense, then he isn’t worth having in the lineup.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins went into the first intermission tied at 1-1 after only putting four shots on net, and should have had the kind of wakeup call that they needed to turn the intensity up a little bit. Instead they went through a second period where they again only put up four shots on net while falling behind by two goals headed into the final 20 minutes. The Avalanche only leveled five shots on net as well, but they scored on a pair of them and pounced all over Boston’s mistakes while playing a surprisingly disciplined, two-way game despite their explosive offensive players. This time around, the Bruins didn’t have any way to come back in the third period against a quality Colorado team that wasn’t going to fold for them.

#HaggBag: Any worries about the B's? Let's hear 'em

HONORABLE MENTION: One of the few players to put up an honest-to-goodness effort in the loss was the hard-hitting fourth liner, Chris Wagner. It was Wagner that redirected a John Moore point shot in the first period for his third goal of the season that gave the Bruins an initial lead in the game. Wagner led the Bruins with five registered hits, scored on the only shot on net he had in the game and won 5-of-10 face-offs that he took in his 12:39 of ice time. The shame was that there weren’t enough other players that rose to the level of urgency and compete that Wagner was showing throughout the game for the Black and Gold.

BY THE NUMBERS: 17 – The home point streak (12-0-5) is over for the Bruins as the Avs handed them their first regulation loss on home ice this year, and their first since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final against the St. Louis Blues almost six months ago.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “There’s just a lot of details that are working us against us now. We’ve just got to wake up and start playing to our abilities in those situations. And live with the result. It doesn’t mean we’re going to win, but I think we’re leaving plays on the table because our lack of urgency or understanding that teams are coming after us.” –Bruce Cassidy, lamenting the lack of urgency in the B’s game as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Avalanche.

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Highlights: Bruins can't seize momentum, fall 4-1 to Avs

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Highlights: Bruins can't seize momentum, fall 4-1 to Avs

FINAL SCORE: Avalanche 4, Bruins 1

IN BRIEF: The Bruins tied it early with a Chris Wagner tip-in off a John Moore shot from the point, but from there the Avs dictated play to hand Boston its first home loss in regulation at TD Garden in the 2019-20 season. It was a Pyrrhic victory for the Avs, though, who lost Calder Trophy favorite and former UMass star Cale Makar to injury.


BRUINS RECORD: 20-4-6 (46 points, 1st in Atlantic Division)





At Ottawa, Monday, 7:30 p.m., NESN

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