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Bruins come out flat vs. Flames

February 7, 2024, 10:05 PM ET [27 Comments]
Ty Anderson
Boston Bruins Blogger •Bruins Feature Columnist • RSSArchiveCONTACT
An extended break did not bring out the best of the Boston Bruins at TD Garden on Tuesday night. In fact, it may have been the worst that Jim Montgomery’s team has looked at any point in 2023-24.

“You always think, as a coach, your preparation was good, but obviously it wasn’t good enough [tonight],” Montgomery said following the loss. “A lot of mental mistakes. A lot of physical mistakes. That’s a lack of real good preparation, individually and collectively.”

The end result: A 4-1 loss to the Calgary Flames.

Down 2-0 through two periods of play, there wasn’t anything to celebrate with this Bruins team. In fact, the team went over 12 minutes without a shot in the goal in the middle frame. The fans grew restless with each flubbed pass or missed shot. And just like the Bruins were booed off the ice at the end of the opening 20, they were booed off the ice after the second period came to an end.

Boston finally found some life in the third period, and on a 5-on-3 advantage, with a Pavel Zacha that bounced into the Calgary net at the 4:14 mark of the third period. The Bruins still had a ton of power-play time to work with, too, in pursuit of the game-tying goal. But a too many men penalty stopped the Bruins in their tracks, and a Jonathan Huberdeau strike just 2:09 after the Zacha goal pushed the Calgary lead back out to two and basically ended this contest for the Bruins.

Oh, and in case it didn’t, the Flames’ Noah Hanifin came through with one of the ugliest goals you’ll see Jeremy Swayman allow this year, scored 3:21 after the Huberdeau goal, to make it 4-1.


This feels like a ‘burn the tape’ kind of game

As a general rule of thumb, it’s probably best not to get too high or too low after the Bruins’ first game in nearly two weeks. Even after two practice days (and the Bruins liked their practice days leading up to this one), this was one of those games that was seemingly always going to be ugly. Especially if the Bruins weren’t ready off the jump against a Calgary team that has to outwork their opponents to have any sort of chance at winning that night. And sure enough, that’s exactly what happened.

Speaking after the loss, a curt said that he wasn’t going to put too much stock in this game given that it was their first game after the break. He also noted that the Bruins are “nowhere close” to being a finished product.

And for what it’s worth, I think there’s something to be said for a loss or two or three being of legitimate value to this club between now and the Mar. 8 trade deadline. It could further highlight what this team needs — or if they should be buying at all — at this year’s deadline.

Now, should this sloppiness extend into Thursday’s game against an opponent that the Bruins should have no problem getting up for, then you’re allowed to be a little concerned about this team’s mindset.

Everything else

- Bruins netminder Jeremy Swayman was the reason the Bruins were still within striking distance through 20 minutes of play. That much is true. But in the third period, the Bruins could’ve used the ever-important ‘timely save’ from their All-Star goalie. For the Bruins to make this a game, they needed a push. And they got it in the opening moments of the third period with help from their power-play opportunities. But the push is not complete without a few key saves at the other end when Calgary catches their breath, and the Bruins simply did not get those from Swayman.

- If there’s one thing that feels real with this team, it’s that they should have another stretch run competition on the backend. Derek Forbort has not looked right since returning to the B’s lineup, Kevin Shattenkirk is what he is, and Matt Grzelcyk has also had himself an up-and-down kind of year. Parker Wotherspoon is the current seventh defenseman for the Bruins, and you can’t help but feel that the Bruins need to ‘stress test’ him between now and the trade deadline to get a true read on where their defense is at and if it needs some additional reinforcements in 2024.

- TD Garden was playing Darkbuster during a stoppage on Tuesday night. Hell yeah.

Up next: The Bruins will welcome the West-best Vancouver Canucks to TD Garden on Thursday night. This will be Boston’s first look at Vancouver in 2023-24, and will mark Elias Lindholm’s second game with the Canucks following his trade from Calgary.
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