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Bruins continue to leave points on the table

December 20, 2019, 11:21 AM ET [3 Comments]
Anthony Travalgia
Boston Bruins Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
In case you’re wondering, I love the 3-on-3 overtime session and hate the shootout. Give me more 3-on-3 and less shootouts please.

Based off their records in the two, the Bruins hate both.

“Listen, do I always sit here and tell you I want to win them? Of course,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said Thursday following the Bruins 3-2 shootout loss to the New York Islanders. “Going forward, they’re not the most important part of the game; if you miss the playoffs by a point, clearly they are.”

Baring something crazy, the Bruins—who lead the Atlantic by 10 points over the Montreal Canadiens—are not going to miss the playoffs by a point. But maybe, all these points the Bruins have left on the table of late in overtime and shootout losses could come back to bite them?

Maybe one or two of these losses in overtime and in the shootout ends up as what prevents the Bruins from securing home ice in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

“We feel we have guys that can score in the shootout. Hasn’t happened for us, and other teams have finished better than us. I don’t have an answer for you there. We’ve talked about this before, we do work on this in practice,” Cassidy added. “Hasn’t gone our way yet. I’ve got to believe we stay in that, if we get in enough of them, some are going to go our way, but clearly it’s not a strength of our team.”

With Thursday’s loss the Bruins fall to 0-5 in the shootout, and have scored on just three of 19 shootouts attempts. Of 27 teams that have scored at least one shootout goal, the Bruins 15.8 % shootout shooting percentage ranks third to last.

The Los Angeles Kings (0-4, 1 shootout) Columbus Blue Jackets, (0-3, 1 shootout) and Detroit Red Wings (0-3, 1 shootout) have yet to score in the shootout, while the Colorado Avalanche have not advanced to the shootout to date.

Overtime has been much kinder to the Bruins with the Bruins winning twice in five opportunities.

The Bruins have now lost seven of their last eight, but as was the case Thursday night, the Bruins had their chances to either extend their lead, or secure the win in the overtime session.

They were unable to do either.

The Bruins got off to a fast start when Anders Bjork put the Bruins on the board 1:58 into the first period. It was a goal that wouldn’t have happened without a ferocious effort from Charlie Coyle who poked the puck off the stick of Ryan Pulock before finding an open Bjork.

The 1-0 lead remained until the early minutes of the second period. The lead was erased after former Bruin Johnny Boychuk’s shot from just inside the offensive zone found it’s way through traffic, past Tuukka Rask and into the Bruins net.

That’s the type of shot that Cassidy would like to see his team do a better job of getting bodies in front of, not allowing the shot to get anywhere near the Bruins goal. Failing to block long range shots is becoming an issue for the Bruins.

“The first one is a goal we’ve given up too much lately,” said Cassidy “Some of that isn’t the goalie working to find the puck, some of it’s boxing out, some of it’s on our forwards to get in the damn shooting lane. Haven’t had as many blocks in those key areas — again, urgency to keep it out of your net, urgency to get the guy out of Tuukka’s way, urgency on the goaltender to fight to see it.”

After Matthew Barzal’s late second period goal gave the Islanders their first lead of the night, the Bruins came out in the third and by far were the better team.

foing 0-3 on the man advantage through two period, seven seconds into a five-on-three power play in the third, Torey Krug rifled a shot past Islanders’ goalie Semyon Varlamov, tying things at two.

Overtime was the same ol’ song and dance for the Bruins. Chance after chance, but nothing to show for it.

“They don't give you much, their efforts are evidence of that and their goals against," said Krug. "At the same time, we think we can do a little more. Guys in this room, and probably each individual feels that. Whether it's a lot or a little more, every guy wants to take on that responsibility and hopefully we can right the ship."

The Bruins host the Nashville Predators Saturday night. A night they hope for two points, and a night that would benefit them if they can avoid playing extra hockey past regulation.
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