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A hot-and-cold week for the Bruins saw the Bruins cool all the way down to echoing boos from the hometown crowd Saturday afternoon at TD Garden, with the Bruins on the wrong end of a downright ugly 3-0 shutout loss to the Capitals.
The loss ended what was a six-game losing streak for the Capitals, and it also marked the first time that the Bruins were shut out this season.
“I think it’s mental for sure,” Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said of his team’s second ugly-looking loss in five days. “It’s preparation. It’s focus. It’s wanting to sacrifice for the greater good. And if you look at the totality of the season, it’s pretty good. But there’s moments [like] in December where it’s been like those two games.”
In Boston’s latest setback, which came less than 48 hours after the club straight-up snuffed out the Canucks for one of the best 60-minute efforts of the season, the Bruins failed to create much of anything.
Through 20 minutes, they had just four shots on goal. And through 40 minutes, they had just eight shots in total. It had the Bruins paced for what would’ve been their worst single-game shot output in over two decades.
And while the B’s remained in striking distance throughout (which maybe only made it all feel even more frustrating), there was simply nothing that could save the Bruins in this one. Especially not when they dug themselves into a two-goal hole. I mean, not even three straight power-play opportunities over the final 11 and a half minutes of this game made a difference for the Bruins.
Richard makes B’s debut
With first-year pro Matt Poitras done for the season due to a shoulder injury, the Bruins are still trying to figure out their ideal bottom-six from both a complexion and roster standpoint. And on Saturday, it was Anthony Richard’s turn to get a chance to show Montgomery & Co. what he can do.
Skating in a fourth-line role with Jesper Boqvist and Danton Heinen, Richard finished this contest with one shot, one block, and six hits in 10:38 of action.
Known as a burner who can make some decent plays with his hands, it’ll be interesting to see if the B’s stick with Richard moving forward, or even contemplate moving him up the lineup in pursuit of more scoring punch.
Richard, who had a slight run with David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha during training camp, was recalled to Boston with 14 goals in his last 17 outings with Providence.
- There was almost nothing to like from this game for the Bruins. But one standout: Jeremy Swayman. Following what was a rather ugly showing against the Flames last Tuesday, Swayman took a hard-luck loss behind a 25-of-27 showing. The Capitals very well could’ve had four goals in a 15-shot opening period, but were held entirely off the board by Swayman, who stood on his head with absolutely zero support in front of him, and more ways than one.
- Might be a controversial take in this world of analyzing plays and intent at quarter-speed, but I really don’t think Matt Grzelcyk was going for Max Pacioretty’s junk on the spear that got him tossed from this game. As someone who has watched Grzelcyk play for what feels like a zillion years now, that’s a common play from Grzelcyk. Standing at just 5-foot-9 and 170-something pounds, Grzelcyk will often look to jam up a player’s body and/or stick when they camp in front of the Boston net. I think that’s the intent here… he just misses, and in the worst spot.
- It’s just three games, but the bye week and All-Star break is looking like a momentum killer for the Bruins’ Jake DeBrusk. In three games since the Bruins returned to action, DeBrusk has zero goals, zero assists, and seven shots. DeBrusk has been open about wanting a contract extension with the Bruins, but it still hasn’t happened, and the Mar. 8 trade deadline is now less than a month away.
Up next: The Bruins get back to work Tuesday night when they play host to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins are 1-0-1 against the Bolts this season. And barring something unforeseen between now and then, it will also be the 1,000th NHL game of Bruins captain Brad Marchand’s career.