Coming off a disappointing loss to the Canadiens in Montreal this weekend, the Bruins dug their skates back into the TD Garden ice in Boston and hosted the Carolina Hurricanes on Monday night. This wasn’t exactly the same Bruins team that B’s fans had grown accustomed to seeing this season – Claude Julien orchestrated some major line shakeups prior to Monday’s game and Chris Kelly returned to the lineup after missing nearly a month with a broken leg.
The Bruins got off to a fast start thanks to some majorly weak Carolina goaltending (the ‘Canes starter, Justin Peters, was yanked from net less than eight minutes into the game) but it ended up turning into one of those half glass full/half glass empty games for the B’s. Here’s the good, bad, and ugly rundown:
Offense – Crash the net and good things will happen. You hear that a lot in hockey, and the Bruins finally figured it out on Monday. Wraparounds played a part in each of the B’s first three goals and the team’s six goal output was their highest this season.
Marchand/Jagr – Chemistry is often an X-factor on the ice, and boy do these two have it. Marchand put home two of the B’s six goals and Jagr made big plays for assists on both of them. I’m expecting more line changes from Claude moving forward, but there’s no way you’ll see these two guys separated if they continue to play this well together.
Tuukka Rask – Tuukka has played his way into the “Good” section of these posts and been the key factor in so many B’s games this season, and I’m not sure whether to be incredibly impressed or incredibly terrified at that fact. Rask played a fantastic game tonight, making 40 saves on 42 shots, but the Bruins need to tighten up on defense and not rely on Tuukka to bail them out every night.
Tyler Seguin – With Patrice Bergeron sidelined with a concussion, Seguin lasted one whole game as the B’s second line center. Julien dropped Segs to the third line wing on Monday night and he ended up with a personal season-low 14:56 TOI. Seguin’s reduced role likely won’t be a regular thing – he had one of his best games of the season last week against Ottawa – but he has to learn to be more consistent.
Power Play – 0 for 2 for the PP tonight. At least they got a couple shots off?
Defense – The B’s effort in their own zone was so bad Monday night you could probably classify it as “fugly”…but I won’t because I’m not a 14-year old girl. Regardless, the defense has become an issue of great concern in recent games and they’ve given up 40 or more shots in three out of their last four games. You might be able to get away with giving up that many chances against a team like Carolina, but good teams will make you pay. And with the condensed season quickly coming to an end, the Bruins better sort out the mess that is their defense sooner rather than later…or they’ll be making another early exit from the playoffs again this year.