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Monday, January 16, 2017

Bruins Fail to Ever Show Up, Lose 4-0 to the Worst Team in the Eastern Conference (Islanders)

If you are a Bruins (23-19-5) fan (and I assume that you are friend since you're reading this), it is no-show performances like today vs. the Islanders (17-17-8) at TD Garden that drive you crazy and make you pull your hair out (if you still have any left). For the second time this season, Boston lost to New York and it was truly pathetic this time around as they were blanked 4-0. Thomas Greiss (32 saves) recorded his first shutout of this campaign (New York's 1st in franchise history here) and it's not like he even had to work to hard to get it. Conversely, Tuukka Rask (12 saves, 3 goals allowed) gave up a really weak goal and was benched after the second period was over with his team trailing 3-0.

Three goals scored has been the magic number for the Islanders this season because they are 16-4-2 when they score 3+ and 1-13-6 when they score two or less. If you were taking a nap on Martin Luther King Day, you certainly didn't wake up during the beyond dull first period (0-0 with 10 total shots on goal). New York's fourth line carried them (it was that special kind of forgettable occasion) as Nikolay Kulemin scored two goals, Casey Cizikas had two assists and Jason Chimera added a goal and assist. Cizikas was a game-high +3 while Patrice Bergeron, Torey Krug, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were all a game-low -3.

New York scored three goals in a span of 5:20 late in the second period. Kulemin scored out front after he was left all alone with Rask. Cizikas and Chimera assisted on Kulemin's sixth goal of the season. Josh Bailey received an absolute gift when he threw the puck at the net and Rask let it sneak under his pads at 15:00. Bailey's sixth goal of the season was assisted by Anders Lee and Adam Pelech. The beating only got worse as Rask stuffed Cizikas on a breakaway only to see him pass it to Kulemin for a one-timer at 18:38. By that point, you knew that the Bruins would not recover on this day from a 3-0 hole even against what coming into the contest had been the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

The Islanders proved that their 4-2 victory here on Dec. 23, 2016 was no fluke as Chimera got a shorthanded breakaway at 12:00 and blasted the puck by Boston's backup goaltender Zane McIntyre (11 saves). Mercifully they meet one more time this season, except it is in Brooklyn. Chimera's eighth goal of the season came in the game where Boston pulled its goalie for the fourth time in 2016-17 (obviously they are 0-4-0 in said tilts). All that was left for the family oriented holiday crowd to do (well the ones that stuck around to the bitter end) was to boo the B's off the ice at the final whistle.

With the one-sided loss, Boston fell back below .500 at the Garden (10-11-0) this season and dropped their first matinee (5-1-0). They are at Detroit (18-19-6) on Wednesday (8, NBC Sports) before they host Chicago (27-14-5) in an extremely rare Friday night matchup (7, NESN). The Bruins are 13-8-5 on the road and the Red Wings currently tied with the Islanders for last-place in the East so they are a disaster. If Detroit was coming here, I'd say that was bad news for the home team but since the road-loving B's are going to Motown, I like their chances much better.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

If You Come to TD Garden This Season to Play the Bruins, You Better Hope That It's a Night Game

You can find a stat for basically anything these days in sports, good or bad so here goes: with today's 6-3 win for the Bruins (23-18-5) at TD Garden vs. Flyers (22-17-6), Boston improved to 5-0-0 in matinees this season. The good news for them is that they have eight more of those remaining this season. The win also put their home record back at .500 (10-10-0 overall, 6-10-0 at night) so if they know what's good for them, they should try to get all their home games changed to afternoon starts (like the Cubs used to have).

Brad Marchand (2 goals, 3 assists) matched his career-high with five points (he's done that 3 times now) and Torey Krug scored a goal for the third straight game as five different Bruins scored goals (2nd time they've done that this season). Boston also matched it's season-high with six goals scored. Philadelphia had a 10-game win-streak earlier this season but they have really cratered since then. Steve Mason was winless in his last seven decisions (0-5-2) so backup goaltender Michal Neuvirth stayed in for the entire beating. Even weirder, Philadelphia defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere was a healthy scratch. Huh? Explain that one to me, head coach Dave Hakstol.

The Bruins' power play also scored two goals, that unit has picked it up recently with goals in nine of their last 12 contests. Finally, Tuukka Rask (21 saves) was back in net after leaving Thursday's 2-1 loss at Nashville where he took a puck up high and had to leave the game (he was checked for a concussion). The Flyers actually scored first as Pierre-Edouard Bellemare (with a name like that, how is he not on the Canadiens?) tipped in Ivan Provorov's shot from the point at 2:05 of the first period. Chris VandeVelde notched the other assist on Bellemare's third goal of the season.

Boston used some good old puck luck to tie it up at 7:48 of the first period. Marchand skated in on a breakaway but lost control of the puck yet it still managed to go by Neuvirth. Marchand's shorthanded goal was unassisted and his 16th goal of the season. He has two shorthanded goals this season (tied with teammate Dominic Moore and many others for the NHL lead) and 21 in his career (most in NHL since 2009-10). The second period was one of Boston's best in 2016-17 and undoubtedly the most entertaining as the B's scored four goals and the Flyers netted a pair themselves.

David Krejci has been playing well lately (4 goals, 5 assists in his last 11 games) and his power play goal gave the Black and Gold a 2-1 lead that they would never relinquish. Krejci's goal was an absolute snipe, his 10th goal of the season, assisted by Austin Czarnik at 2:00. Exactly four minutes later, Krug tipped in a pretty passing sequence from Marchand and Pastrnak for his fourth goal of the season. It was a big day for special teams as Philadelphia also scored two power play goals. Brayden Schenn tipped in a shot by Mark Streit at 8:16 to cut it to 4-2 Bruins. Claude Giroux picked up the second assist as Schenn extended his point-streak to five games (4 goals, 1 assist) with his 15th goal of the season.

Bergeron tallied Boston's second power play goal as his one-timer from Marchand and Krug was also deflected by Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald's stick. It was his ninth goal of the season and he has six points (2 goals, 4 assists) in his last six games. Zdeno Chara's blast extended the Bruins' lead to 5-2 at 15:18 of the second. Pastrnak and Marchand had the helpers on Chara's third goal of the season. Pasta now has seven assists in his last six games which makes up for the fact that he hasn't scored a goal in a long time.

Philly had a 5-on-3 late in the second and Wayne Simmonds (I always say it but how good would he look in a Bruins uniform?) jammed in a pass from Jakub Voracek. Giroux assisted on Simmonds' team-leading 18th goal of the season. Not much happened in the third period besides Marchand bagged an empty-netter, he's only two goals behind Pastrnak for the team lead and has a 10-point edge over Pastrnak for the team lead (43-33).

Boston is still in second-place in the Atlantic Division and their next few games are very favorable as they host the Islanders (16-16-8) on Monday afternoon (1, NESN) and go to Detroit (17-19-6) on Wednesday (8, NBC Sports). At this moment, the Islanders and Red Wings are tied for last-place in the Eastern Conference so these are the garbage teams that they have to beat no questions asked.

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Bruins Need To Drastically Shake Things Up and They Should Have Done It Already

It's been a long time since I was applying to colleges but from what I remember, they don't let dumb people into Harvard. My point being that Bruins GM Don Sweeney is a smart man so there is no conceivable way that he can sit by idly and watch Boston (20-17-4) piss away another entire season, right? How many times do fans have to see the same mistakes: slow starts, no offensive firepower, a stubborn head coach set in his (usually winning) ways, an awful power play and a team that you can never count on to perform at a high level at key moments? After sitting through another lackluster performance tonight at the Garden where the Oilers (20-13-7) beat the Bruins 4-3, all I can reasonably conclude is that something has to happen very soon before the Black and Gold repeat the same exact crappy script from the last two years (going to the last weekend of the regular season needing points to make the playoffs then not getting them).

Let's not waste any time, Claude Julien is a wonderful coach, in fact he's still one of the best in the NHL. However, as the longest-tenured guy behind the bench (almost 10 years), don't you have to wonder if many of his players have started to tune him out a bit? If you're not named Bill Belichick and winning at an insane clip year after year, eventually every coach reaches an expiration date. I'm not going to say that Julien deserves to get fired since I don't think you can expect much better results than he's getting with this flawed roster but perhaps it's simply time for a new voice. Changing coaches is always the easiest way to shuffle the deck for a team that's going nowhere fast but nearly all of the current roster needs to be under the microscope as well.

Sorry Danny Ainge, you can't rip off rival GMs on every trade so maybe the Bruins have to trade some of their supposed best players (David Krejci, Zdeno Chara, etc.) to prove that what's happening now and over the last few years isn't acceptable for a club that was one of the league's biggest powers just a few short years ago. How can a team be so good on the road (11-7-4) yet so mind-numbingly poor at home (9-10-0), again? If you've been paying attention, tonight's loss to Edmonton had so many of the usual elements of the Bruins' recent failures: a nobody (Patrick Maroon) had a career-night (his 1st career hat trick), they had a whopping 75 shot attempts (36 on goal, 19 blocked, 20 missed the net!) and the opposing goaltender-in this crease Cam Talbot (33 saves) did enough to gain the two points as the Oilers were up two goals in the third period and held on.

Connor McDavid's first career game in Boston was a memorable one as he had a pair of assists in helping the Oilers get their first regulation win over Boston since Oct. 17, 2000 and first regulation win here since Nov. 7, 1996. In fact, the Bruins had a 16-game point-streak (13-0-3) snapped by Milan Lucic's new team. No word on if Looch actually played in the game because I never saw him out there. McDavid threaded a perfect pass to Maroon for a one-timer only 1:08 into the contest. Leon Draisaitl had the other helper on Maroon's 12th goal of the season. Chara didn't like what he was seeing so he did what any good leader would do: he dropped the gloves with Maroon shortly after that initial tally. Is that still allowed in the NHL? Answer: barely.

Boston put together a short-lived lead as Colin Miller tied it at 7:16 of the first period when his shot bounced in the net off of former Northeastern defenseman Matt Benning. Austin Czarnik and Torey Krug assisted on Miller's third goal of the season. Patrice Bergeron continued to slowly percolate as he finished a pass from David Pastrnak for a 2-1 B's lead at 10:43 of the second period. Kevan Miller (his 1st point of the season) had the other assist on Bergeron's eighth goal of the season. Of course, the Bruins aren't allowed to taste success for very long these days at the Garden so Maroon tied it at two at 13:09. Maroon overpowered Adam McQuaid for a loose puck by Tuukka Rask (21 saves) and spun around to get the shot off. BU's Eric Gryba and McDavid had the assists.

Edmonton is having an unexpectedly good season thus far and they were helped out by a fortunate bounce of their own as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a puck ricochet off his body into Boston's net just 14 seconds into the final frame. After allowing such an early goal in the first period, how could the Bruins double down and give up a way faster one? My head hurts. Maroon completed his hat trick at 9:02 (his career-best 14th goal of the season) after fittingly forcing an ugly turnover by the B's in their own end. He wrapped around Rask and waited for a long time before sliding the puck in. Beautiful goal.

The Bruins had a 5-on-3 power play for 59 seconds and even they couldn't screw that up. With Gryba literally a second from jumping back on the ice from the penalty box, Krejci sent in a shot from the side of the net after Talbot had stuffed Bergeron at a better angle. Brad Marchand notched the other assist on Krejci's ninth goal of the season at 17:04. Boston pushed for a tying goal but as usual, it wasn't meant to be. How many times have we said, "why don't they play like that (as they do when they are coming back) more often?" Therein lies the main issue: who do you blame more for yet another up-and-down season? Make no mistake, the Jacobs' might not hold anyone accountable but someone has to notice that this group is fatally flawed.

Boston has practice tomorrow morning before flying out to Florida as the Bruins visit the Panthers (16-15-8) on Saturday night (7, NESN). They are in Carolina (17-14-7) for a bizarre 5 pm start time (on NESN) on Sunday. I wouldn't recommend viewing either game even though the B's will probably do well in them. Nope, Wild Card Weekend starts on Saturday afternoon and even though the Pats are off for a week, the NFL playoffs are much more interesting than this mess of a team. Look for center David Backes (who is recovering from a concussion) to return this weekend after he practiced yesterday but wasn't cleared to play for tonight.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

If Only the Bruins Could Play The Sabres Like Once Every Week, They'd Be in Good Shape

As the Bruins (20-15-4) have proven over and over again already this season, especially when they're at TD Garden, they can't underestimate anyone after they've lost to a bunch of bottom-feeder last-place teams. For whatever reason, the Sabres (13-15-8) are just what ails them since with today's 3-1 New Year's Eve matinee victory, the Black and Gold swept the season series with Buffalo for the first time in either team's franchise history. Of course, keep in mind that when there were fewer clubs in the NHL, the Atlantic Division rivals used to meet up to eight times a season which looking back on it now is pretty funny.

This was a feel-good moment for the B's as they captured back-to-back wins for the first time in nearly a month (Dec. 1, 3, 5), Patrice Bergeron continued to heat up offensively (3 goals in 5 games) while Ryan Spooner (3 goals, 4 assists) and Torey Krug (7 assists) each extended their point streaks to five games apiece. Tuukka Rask (26 saves, 19th win of the season) continued his mastery of the Sabres as he improved to 13-5-1 in 21 career games vs. Buffalo. Boston had won 4-2 in Buffalo on Thursday but they paid a price for those particular two points as David Backes is now out indefinitely with a concussion.

One of the guys that will counted on for more production with Backes out is Frank Vatrano who has been moved up to the second line. He gave Boston a 1-0 lead just 1:28 into the contest with one of his signature quick release shots. Zdeno Chara assisted on Vatrano's second goal of the season (2 goals, 2 assists in 5 games) that fooled Sabres goaltender Robin Lehner (25 saves). Seeking some payback from Thursday when he got bloodied by William Carrier's cheap shot punches while they were tied up by the refs, Adam McQuaid drilled Johan Larsson with a clean hit (that dislocated the left wing's wrist).

Bergy doubled the Bruins' lead in the second period with a one-timer from Spooner and Brad Marchand at 7:04 on the power play. Bergeron had been a ghost in terms of goal-scoring for much of the early going so it's been nice to see him find his game lately. Lehner had started his New Year's Eve drinking early or something as Tim Schaller's harmless backhander beat him at 9:29 of the second period for a commanding 3-0 Bruins advantage. Three goals scored by Boston can feel like double that with their struggles to find the back of the net and couple that with how well Rask has played. The Bruins are now 14-2-1 when they lead by 2+ goals in 2016-17. Krug and Austin Czarnik assisted on Schaller's fifth goal of the season that had to feel a little sweeter against his former team.

As you probably noticed lately, the NHL has done everything in its power to outlaw fighting so even though Kevan Miller and Evander Kane wanted to fight each other later in the second, not to mention many other chippy moments throughout the proceedings, the linesmen and referees weren't having any of it. I understand they want to eliminate needless injuries (most notably concussions) from fights but one of the things that makes hockey so great is the ability to settle things after a cheap play.

North Chelmsford, MA native and BU one-and-done star Jack Eichel always seems to do something when he's at the Garden so he didn't disappoint his friends and family with a one-timer at 19:38 of the second that he hammered past Rask. His seventh goal of the season was assisted by Rasmus Ristolainen and Sam Reinhart. This was the first time in this campaign that Bergeron has scored in consecutive games and Boston's sputtering power play is slowly figuring things out with goals in four of their last five.

Nearly halfway through the season, Boston still finds itself in third-place in the Atlantic Division. They have 44 points like Ottawa (20-12-4) but the Senators have played three less games. Also, the Bruins are four points ahead of Tampa Bay (18-15-4) going into their meeting with Carolina this evening (Lightning will have 1 game in hand after that). Boston is back at .500 at home and five games over .500 on the road (11-6-4) so I suppose it's good news that they head out of town for five of their next six games.

This week is another one that at least on paper isn't too scary: at reeling New Jersey (14-16-7) on Monday (7, NESN), they host Edmonton (19-12-6) on Thursday (7, NESN) in Milan Lucic's latest return, at Florida (15-14-8) on Saturday (7, NESN) and at Carolina (16-12-7) on Sunday (5, NESN). The Bruins should get points in all of those road games and even though the Oilers have been unexpectedly good this season, I still don't fear them.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ugh, the Bruins Continue to Pathetically Fold at TD Garden Against the NHL's Worst Teams

Question: how many last-place teams can come into TD Garden in a short amount of time and all leave here with wins? Answer: three (Colorado, Toronto and Islanders). Tonight, Boston (17-14-3) spotted New York (12-14-6) a 3-0 lead in the second period before they finally decided to show a pulse in the third period. By that time it was too late as the Islanders snapped a five-game losing streak (0-4-1) to take the 4-2 decision. It was a nice homecoming for two former Bruins defensemen: Dennis Seidenberg (playing in his first game back in Boston since signing with NY in September) and Johnny Boychuk were both a game-high +2.

Tuukka Rask (16-6-3) has been stellar all season so I guess he was due for an off-night of sorts. He was victimized by two fluky goals and ended up getting pulled for the first time since April 3, 2015 (at Chicago). He finished with 10 saves and three goals allowed. Anton Khudobin made 15 saves in his appearance that began at 13:42 of the second period. He actually picked up his first career NHL point (an assist) but he allowed an Islanders power play goal in the third period that effectively closed the curtain on this one. New York goaltender Thomas Greiss (7-5-0) made a career-high 48 saves as Boston had a season-high 50 shots on goal (95 shot attempts!).

The B's hadn't played since Sunday afternoon's 1-0 win vs. LA, so they were sitting around at home since then and thus there really is no valid excuse for coming out so slow once again. Rask and Brad Marchand ran into each other behind Boston's net, allowing Anders Lee to knock in an early Christmas present at 3:05 of the first period. Lee's team-leading 11th goal of the season was unassisted. Another rare mistake happened a few moments later as Patrice Bergeron got caught up ice, leaving New York with a 3-on-1. Thomas Hickey beat Rask glove-side with a shot at 5:40 for a 2-0 lead. Josh Bailey and Lee had the assists on Hickey's tally.

Boston's offense had two near misses in the second period as Patrice Bergeron and Austin Czarnik each hit the crossbar in quick succession. New York took a commanding 3-0 lead at 6:18 on yet another bizarre strike. Boychuk dumped the puck in Boston's zone, it bounced off the end boards (and eluded Kevan Miller's stick) before Rask got handcuffed by it on the goal-line. Nikolay Kulemin was there to smack it in for his fourth goal of the season.

As we all predicted, Bruins rookie Anton Blidh sparked the comeback attempt when his centering pass intended for goal-machine Jimmy Hayes deflected by Greiss off of Islanders defenseman Nick Leddy's skate. The first goal of Blidh's NHL career was assisted by Brandon Carlo and Khudobin just 3:04 into the third. After rightfully booing the Bruins off the ice to end the second, the Garden crowd finally had something to cheer about and they really got loud for a few minutes after Dominic Moore tipped in Zdeno Chara's shot from the point at 7:12. Moore's eighth goal of the season was also assisted by Hayes (his 1st helper of the season).

New York head coach Jack Capuano (a Rhode Islander) sensed his team falling apart and smartly took his timeout to settle them down. It worked as they were able to hold off the Bruins and get the insurance goal they needed when Lee received another easy tap-in at 13:02. Khudobin lost the puck in his pads with the assists going to Bailey and Leddy. Boston ended up outshooting New York 23-9 in the third. It seemed like they had a power play (a good one though, not theirs) for almost the entire 20 minutes and they put tons of pressure on the Isles but they never completely cracked like you hoped that they would.

The good news for Boston is that they get to go on the road where they are much better (9-5-3) than at the Garden (8-9-0) so far in 2016-17. The B's are in Florida (15-13-5) on Thursday (7:30, NESN) before they wrap up things (sorry) before a brief Christmas break (Dec. 24-26) on Friday (7:30, NESN) in Carolina (13-11-7). Boston is clinging to third-place in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of both the Lightning (16-14-3) and Panthers. Needless to say, Christmas will be much more enjoyable for the entire team if they can get three or four points on their mini-Southern road trip.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

With No Pastrnak, Bruins Blank the Kings 1-0 Thanks to Rask and Hayes (No, Really)

With David Pastrnak out at least for the next few games after an unexpected minor surgery on his elbow (bursa sac) on Friday, the Bruins' (17-13-3) anemic offense has been put to the test even further. At least this afternoon, they got it done with a result that is basically head coach Claude Julien's dream score. Boston beat Los Angeles (16-13-2) 1-0 this afternoon at TD Garden. Tuukka Rask picked up an easy shutout (his 4th of the season, tying him for most in the NHL) with 18 saves as he improved to 16-5-3 this season. Jimmy Hayes of all people scored the only goal as the Kings never really got much going on with 10 shots on goal through the first two periods.

Both power-plays went 0-for-4 and if it feels like Boston usually has had this type of low-scoring game in 2016-17, it's because they have. It was the 22nd time out of 33 games that they have scored two goals or less, they improved to 9-12-1 in those and 3-0-0 in matinees. Originally the Hayes goal, which came at 4:20 of the first period, was credited to Colin Miller but replays showed that the BC product had tipped the puck before it reached Kings goaltender Peter Budaj (29 saves). It was the second goal of the season for Hayes (and only his 2nd point), the other came back on November 27 vs. Tampa Bay. He's on a hot streak now! Colin Miller and Dominic Moore had the assists on the lone tally of the contest.

Sadly, about as rare as a goal by Hayes these days is an actual fight in the NHL but wouldn't you know the fans were treated to one of those as well. What an early Christmas gift! Kevan Miller dropped the gloves with Kyle Clifford later in the first period and those are each legitimate tough guys. Marian Gaborik (who only has 1 goal in 9 games this season) and Dustin Brown (4 goals in 30 games) were scratches for the Kings who are similarly offensively-challenged as the Bruins. UMass legend Jonathan Quick is out (groin) until at least February so it'll be tough for LA to hold onto a Wild-Card spot in the Western Conference. Granted, that's the least of Bruins' fans worries at this moment. They just want to see the Black and Gold back in the postseason for the first time in three years. It's been way too long!

Boston hosts the reeling Islanders (11-13-6) on Tuesday (7, NESN) at the Garden. Rhode Islander Jack Capuano, the head coach of the Isles, has to be on the verge of getting fired since somehow his team is currently in last-place in the Eastern Conference. It'll be a nice little reunion with former Bruins Johnny Boychuk and Dennis Seidenberg back in town and isn't that what the holidays are all about? All told, the B's have three games left before a mini-Christmas break (Dec. 24-26). They are at Florida (14-13-5) on Thursday (7:30, NESN) and at Carolina (13-11-7) on Friday (7:30, NESN). Out of a possible six points available next week, I'm thinking that they should grab at least four from that trio of winnable opponents.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Nevermind Playing Hockey Games, The Worn-Out Bruins Desperately Need a Rest Like Right Now

In any professional sport, every team will face a rough stretch with tons of games (and travel) condensed into a short amount of time. That's why it is pointless fodder (although always a favorite crutch for my fellow lazy media members) to whine about such circumstances since at some point, everyone will have to deal with it. With all that said, the Bruins (16-13-3) have to be happy that they finally get two days between games for the first time in nearly a month (Nov. 20-21). After getting three out of four unlikely points with a 2-1 overtime win in Montreal (19-6-4) on Monday and a 4-3 loss to Pittsburgh (20-7-3) last night, they returned to TD Garden and lost 4-3 to the Ducks (16-10-5) this evening.

The season-long trends for the B's of losing in Game 2 of back-to-backs (1-5-0) and Game 3 of three-games-in-four-nights (3-5-0) continued along with the even more troubling poor play when anyone not named Tuukka Rask (15-5-3) occupies their net. Backup goaltender Anton Khudobin (1-5-0) clearly isn't the same guy he was in his first go-around with the Bruins back in 2013 but it doesn't help that his few starts are usually marked by team-wide shitty outings.

A new wrench was thrown into Boston's usual script for home losses as they actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period only to see Anaheim quickly erase that. Boston dropped to 11-2-0 this season when they lead by 2+ goals. The Ducks went up 3-2 early in the second period and the Bruins tied it up but once again, Anaheim had the last laugh. The game got off to such a crazy start that it was a shame to see it end in such an anti-climatic fashion (with 0 goals in the final 34:58). It was a battle of backup goaltenders with Khudobin (23 saves) facing your boy Jonathan Bernier (6-2-1) who finished with 31 saves.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara blasted home a shot from the point at 12:07 of the first period. David Backes and Brad Marchand assisted on Chara's second goal of the season (his 1st goal in 22 games and 1st point in 8 games). Only 13 seconds later, Austin Czarnik doubled Boston's advantage with a one-timer from Ryan Spooner and Riley Nash. The rookie has slowly started to find his legs in the NHL with two goals and two assists in the last six games. It turned into video game hockey as Andrew Cogliano cut it to 2-1 just 24 seconds after Czarnik's strike. The three goals in 37 seconds was the most in a Bruins game since Boston and St. Louis combined for three in 34 seconds on Dec. 19, 1987. In truth, it was an own goal as Cogliano passed it to Jakob Silfverberg but the latter whiffed while David Krejci accidentally put it in his own goal. Woof.

Earlier in the frame, Khudobin had stopped a partial breakaway on Silfverberg but then Kevin Bieksa tied it up at two by jumping out of the penalty box and taking a stretch pass by Ryan Getzlaf (his 23rd assist, 2nd most in the NHL) before he beat Khudobin. Former Northeastern Husky Josh Manson went to the net and was rewarded with a juicy rebound right on his stick with Khudobin way out of position. His 1st goal of the season came 55 seconds into the second period with Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell picking up the assists. Krejci scored one for his team which was nice (his 6th of the season), depositing a power-play goal from Backes and Torey Krug at 2:06.

Rakell put in a rebound at 5:02 of the second period which turned out to be the game-winner. Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler assisted on Rakell's 12th goal of the season (he was also named the 1st star of the game). The B's will have no practice tomorrow and then probably a light workout on Saturday before they host the Kings (15-12-2). Los Angeles is in Pittsburgh tomorrow night so unlike many of their recent contests, Boston will be waiting for someone to visit them rather than the other way around. Tonight's loss dropped them to under .500 at the Garden (7-8-0) in 2016-17. The Kings are hanging onto the second Wild Card spot in the Western Conference but without star goaltender Jonathan Quick (what up ZooMass?) out until March with a groin injury, it's doubtful that they'll be able to hang on to it. The B's will have to take advantage of playing a West Coast team on Sunday afternoon (1, NESN), granted the Kings' bodies should be used to the Eastern Time zone by then.