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Monday, October 12, 2015

The Bruins (0-3) Are Off to Their Worst Start In 16 Years

The week to forget continued for the Bruins as they welcomed another top club to TD Garden this afternoon and limped away with an eerily similar loss. Tampa Bay (3-0) looked the part of defending Eastern Conference champions as they rallied from an early 2-0 deficit and fought off three power-play goals by Boston (0-3) to post a 6-3 victory on Columbus Day. This is the worst start for the Bruins since 1999-2000 and the 16 goals allowed in these three defeats is their most in 50 years.

It all started so well too as David Krejci (1 goals, 2 assists) scored on a power-play at 2:59 from Torey Krug (3 assists) and Patrice Bergeron. Loui Eriksson doubled Boston's lead after a tap-in at 11:02, another power-play strike that was preceded by slick passing from Krug and Krejci. Former BC star and Hingham native Brian Boyle cut it to 2-1 at 15:42 after the big man was somehow allowed to skate in the slot unimpeded than rip a wrist shot over Tuukka Rask (17 saves). It's been a shaky start for Rask and you can't blame all his troubles on the crappy defensemen in front of him. Ondrej Palat tied it at 16:52 with a weak shot that squeaked through Rask's pads.

David Pastrnak has been one of Boston's lone bright spots to this dark period but he looked like a child when Boyle came barreling through the neutral zone and bounced off him without breaking his slow stride. Boyle went in on a breakaway and scored on a backhander, four seconds after Tampa Bay had killed a Bruins power-play. Ben Bishop (27 saves) is another top goaltender in the NHL and he had an uneven performance although his acting ability led to a pair of goaltender interference penalties called on the B's. Eriksson added another power-play tally at 12:20 by deftly tipping in Krejci's shot with Krug getting another helper.

Tampa Bay ended Boston's 10-game winning streak vs. Lightning at TD Garden, this was their first road win here since March 25, 2010. Steven Stamkos was able to exorcise some personal demons as well since this was the rink where he gruesomely broke his leg two years ago. He picked up his 500th career point with his patented one-timer rocket at 15:17. Zdeno Chara returned today (Matt Irwin was rightfully sent to Providence after he cleared waivers) while Brad Marchand was out with a concussion but Boston couldn't muster another comeback in the third period. As good teams usually do, some fluky goals went the Lightning's way as Rask gave up a horrible goal to Jonathan Drouin at 5:38 and Valtteri Filppula sent most of the fans home early with a goal off his skate at 15:58 (it looked like he kicked it but it stood after a review).

For a team with so many problems, perhaps the best thing for the Bruins to do is get out of the area for awhile and try to regroup. They are at Colorado (1-1-0) on Wednesday (10, NESN) and Arizona (2-0) on Saturday (10, NESN). Their next home game isn't until a week from Wednesday against equally terrible Philly (0-1-1). Needless to say, for head coach Claude Julien's job security and numerous players, the B's need points starting as soon as possible.

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