In a Bruins season filled with Grade-A effort and unprecedented results,, there’s bound to be one of two clunkers. Thursday night against the Predators was just that.
The Bruins, by their own admission, “mailed it in” against an inferior opponent at home, losing 2-1 to a Nashville Predators squad missing top players Roman Josi, Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen, and Matt Duchene.
The loss prevented Boston from clinching the Presidents trophy for most points in the league, something that was theirs for the taking following Carolina’s 4-0 loss to the Lightning that night. The Bruins get another crack at clinching the President’s Trophy Thursday at home against Columbus.
If you were looking for offense you were in the wrong place. The two teams combined for one goal through the first 58 plus minutes of regulation.
The teams played to a scoreless first. Predators forward Cody Glass broke the stalemate and put his team ahead 1-0 with 1:49 remaining in the second. Cole Smith was credited with an empty-netter (originally shot by ex-Bruin Jeremy Lauzon) with 1:19 left to seal it.
David Pastrnak kept the Bruins from getting blanked tallying his 52nd goal with two seconds to go in regulation.
All three of Boston’s home regulation losses this season ave come when they trailed entering the third period. Linus Ullmark was credited with the loss and finished the game with 21 saves on 22 shots, and a .955 save percentage.
David Pastrnak scores with less than a second left https://t.co/WwUez6PdC5
— Benjamin Aliber (@Benjamin_Aliber) March 29, 2023
Not So Special
Good news bad news with the Bruins power special teams. The good news, the Bruins penalty kill unit went a perfect (5 for 5.) The power play , well that continues to be a problem./
Boston went scoreless in 5 tries on the man advantage landing only 5 shots on net. Head coach Jim Montgomery mixed up personnel, rotating different point men in on the top unit alongside Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk.
“Change isn’t always the answer,” said Montgomery. “Although it seems like the easiest answer. It’s players committing to do the right thing.”
“We’re forcing plays. We’re disjointed and disconnected,” captain Patrice Bergeron added. “I think we have to go back to hard and simple. You have to work for loose pucks and retrieve pucks. When you’re one and done, it’s hard to capitalize on chances.”
Juuse Saros is the main reason the Predators are competitive this season and it he was the reason they won on Tuesday night. Saros stopped 35 of 36 shots including several high danger chances. According toe moneypuck.com the Preds goalie had 2.47 goals saved above expected.
Can’t fault Ullmark for this one. The Vezina front runner stopped 21 of 22 shots and finished with one goal saved above expected according to moneypuck.com.
David Pastrnak was the lone goal scorer on an otherwise dud of an offensive night for the Bruins. He found the back of the net with two-tenths of a second remaining in regulation. Pastrnak had eight shots and logged 20:07 minutes of ice time including 7:16 of power-play time which included more than one double shift. Pastrnak remains hot through the month of March with nine goals and eight assists for 17 points.
That’s what he said
To a man every Bruins player and coach acknowledged the Bruins did not have their best effort. Head coach Jim Montgomery admitted that the Bruins “laid an egg.” Marchand admitted the Bruins took the shorthanded Predators “lightly.”
While not using it as an excuse the Bruins did also discuss the brutal schedule they’ve had of late. The Bruins are in the midst of a run of 13 games in 25 days, with weekend back-to-backs in each of the final five weeks.
“I think that factors into it,” Montgomery said. “But also what I think goes into it is we’re going into our fifth week of four in five. We’re just starting that again, and you’re going to have peaks and valleys with our energy levels. We try to manage it the best we can. The schedule is unforgiving right now, so you’re going to lay eggs every once in a while.”
“This is probably the toughest schedule I’ve ever seen and been a part of,” Marchand echoed. “I think we were just a little disrespectful of the game tonight. Fatigue definitely comes into it, but we’re in the situation where we’re going to be tired moving forward but we still have to be able to show up.”
- Bruins’ star defenseman Charlie McAvoy took a cross-check to the face in the second period, was visibly shook but managed to stay in the game.
- Nick Foligno and Taylor Hall both skated in the morning wearing non-contact jerseys.
- The Bruins next opponent, Columbus is tied for fewest points in the league with 62.
- The Bruins still need six more wins over their final 8 games for the most regular season wins in NHL history.