At least the Boston Bruins got a point tonight, but their 4-3 overtime loss to the Calgary Flames might sting worse than the three more decisive losses that preceded it.
After all, it looked like Boston had finally put its recent slump behind it when Torey Krug put the Bruins up 3-0 at 0:50 of the second period.
Calgary slowly chipped away at their edge though with Jiri Hudler netting two goals for the Flames, including the game-tying goal with just 5:09 remaining the in third period. That led to T.J. Brodie ending the contest in the dying seconds of overtime with a very unusual marker:
To make matters worse, Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller suffered what might be a shoulder injury, per CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty.
“We’ll see what comes out. But it doesn’t look good,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said referring to Miller, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.
With a 28-20-8 record, the Bruins have a four-point edge on Florida in the battle for the second Wild Card spot, but the Panthers have also played in one less contest. On top of that, Philadelphia has been rather effective lately and it’s just six points back of Boston.
That’s put the pressure on the Bruins to rebound in the second half of their Western Conference trip. After losing to Vancouver and now Calgary, they will face Edmonton on Wednesday, St. Louis on Friday, and Chicago on Sunday.
Claude Julien wasn’t showing his cards this morning, but after three straight losses — including Saturday’s defeat in Vancouver that featured two “mind-boggling” mistakes, one from Dougie Hamilton and another from Dennis Seidenberg — the Bruins’ coach didn’t rule out the possibility of changing his defense tonight in Calgary.
Julien said any changes would be a game-time decision. The Bruins have seven defenseman on their active roster. That includes Matt Bartkowski, who hasn’t played since Dec. 31.
Though Julien insisted the two mistakes in the Vancouver game were entirely the responsibility of the two individuals who made them, Hamilton suggested the Bruins need to play better collectively if they’re going to have success.
“The D aren’t really working with the forwards, the forwards aren’t working with the D,” he said, per the Boston Globe. “We’re kind of two separate units, not working as a five-man unit. There’s a lot of gaps in the neutral zone. Everything. We don’t come up as a unit, don’t support each other in anything. Obviously, it makes it tougher. There’s guys on islands and it just makes the game a lot tougher.”
Related: Bruins’ pair of Seidenberg-McQuaid is an issue
Interesting development regarding the Bruins and young goalie prospect Malcolm Subban — per the Providence Journal, Subban is set to rejoin the B’s today on a recall from AHL Providence.
Which is leading to all sorts of speculation.
The Bruins are in the midst of a Western Canada road swing and the recall would leave Providence short — per the Journal, the club’s strength coach is dressing as the backup goalie for today’s matinee against Manchester — so the timing of Subban’s move is curious.
Especially in light of recent reports.
TSN’s Darren Dreger said B’s GM Peter Chiarelli had received calls on Subban, the club’s first-round pick (24th overall) at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Subban’s played well in the American League this season — posting a .921 save percentage — and, per an earlier report from Friedman, the Sabres inquired about trading for Subban, but were shot down.
Boston has four games remaining on its current road trip, which began with an ugly 5-2 loss in Vancouver on Friday. The B’s play tonight in Calgary, Wednesday in Edmonton, Friday in St. Louis and Sunday in Chicago — four games in six nights, a packed schedule which could give Subban a shot at making his NHL debut.
That said, this recall could be much ado about nothing. Boston could simply be giving Subban a look in place of the struggling Niklas Svedberg, who has been pulled in two of his last three starts.
The Boston Bruins have dropped four of their last five games, but tonight’s 5-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks was particularly troubling.
Boston’s defense was on display in a bad way in this contest, with Dougie Hamilton and Dennis Seidenberg executing ugly passes that Canucks forward Shawn Matthias was able to capitalize on:
Matthias had a hat trick as he also accounted for Vancouver’s opening goal. He has 13 goals in 52 games this season, with five of those markers coming in his last four contests.
This was the opening tilt in an important five-game road trip for the Bruins. With a 28-20-7 record, their hold on the second Wild Card spot is tenuous and Hamilton recently noted that there’s “a lot of negativity in the room.” Certainly this defeat won’t do anything to help that.
Vancouver has now won three of its last four contests to improve to 31-20-3. The Canucks needed these two points to keep pace with San Jose tonight in the battle for second place in the Pacific Division. The victory also gives the Canucks a four-point cushion in the fight for a postseason berth.
They’ll head to Calgary for another important game Saturday night.
With three regulation defeats in their last four, including last night’s 5-3 home loss to Dallas, “negativity” has crept back into the Boston Bruins’ mindset — just in time for a five-game road trip that starts Friday in Vancouver, before stops in Calgary, Edmonton, St. Louis and Chicago.
“You’re feeling so good, and everything is positive, and it kind of all goes the other way again… a lot of negativity in the room, I guess, this last weekend,” said d-man Dougie Hamilton, per CSN New England. “That’s what happens when you’re losing, and we have to find a way to change that obviously on this road trip.”
Not even two weeks ago, the B’s were ending the month of January on an 8-1-1 run. At the time, they had themselves a comfortable nine-point playoff cushion.
Today, that cushion has dwindled to just four points over the Florida Panthers, who also hold two games in hand.
“It is disappointing,” captain Zdeno Chara said after the Stars game, in which the B’s surrendered two short-handed goals and went 0-for-3 on the power play.
“We know that it was our last game for a while at home and now we have a long road trip.”