After five straight winless games filled with frustration, Boston went into Florida last Saturday. They played a solid game against a good Panthers team on the road. They came away with two points they earned. Boston looked like they were back on the track. The Bruins were going back to Boston with a four game home stretch waiting for them. The home stand has not transpired the way the Bruins wanted.
It all started on Tuesday against the lowly, last place in the West, Los Angeles Kings. The Bruins erased two different one goal differences to take a one goal lead at the start of the 3rd. Then King Matt Roy rocketed a shot past Tuukka Rask with two minutes left to tie the game. After numerous scoring chances in over time, Anze Kopitar sent Boston fans home disappointed with a game winning goal.
The opposite scenario took place Thursday against the Islanders. With Boston down one half way through the 3rd, Torey Krug continued his clutch, productive campaign by potting a power play goal. How did the Bruins take that momentum into the shoot out after an exciting overtime? Rask allowed two goals on three attempts and the Bruins managed only one score. Another shootout disappointment.
Maybe they could turn it around against an underachieving Nashville team. After letting two 1 goal leads slip away, the Bruins had the goalie pulled late in the 3rd. Patrice Bergeron tipped in the tying goal with 1:05 remaining. In over time, the Bruins left Ryan Ellis all alone in the slot. He sniped the game winner past Halak. The end result is three straight loser points for the Bruins.
The one good aspect to take away from this frustrating stretch is Boston’s tenacity. They were able to tie up two different 3rd period deficits. However, they are letting valuable points slip away.
The Bruins lead the NHL in a very dubious category. Their nine loses in overtime and shootout make them the leader in that clubhouse. No other team has more than seven. They currently lead the Atlantic Division with 51 points. They are nine points ahead of a surging Toronto squad who have won five of their last six games.
The Bruins are right in the middle of an inconsistent stretch. They keep finding one of two ways to drop points. They are either not adding to leads and giving up backbreaking goals. Or Boston is failing to bring their game tying momentum into the extra frames.
Boston continues to show, even during this difficult home stand, they are a talented, resilient hockey team. However, they do need to get back to adding to leads and protecting them late in match ups. They are letting too many extra points slip away. Especially with their inconsistent overtime play and poor shoot out record, they need to finish games within 60 minutes. With one more game to be played before their three day Christmas break, Boston has a chance to finish off their home stand strong against the always tough Washington Capitals.
Story by Chad Jones
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones