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Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Bruins Continue to Find Ways to Lose at TD Garden This Season



I wish I had an explanation for Boston's mind-numbing woes at TD Garden this season (1-5-1) while they have looked like a really good team on the road (6-2-0). Their puzzling play continued tonight as they began a crucial five-game homestand (their longest of the 2015-16) against Colorado (6-9-1) who has been one of the worst teams in the NHL. Boston (7-7-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead just 5:51 into the contest then proceeded to cough that up then never come back as they lost 3-2.

This was supposed to be a positive night for the B's as veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg made his unexpected debut and actually looked like himself (15:34, game-high 6 hits, 2 blocked shots) for the most part. Tyler Randell stood up for his new teammate after Cody McLeod took a run at Seidenberg, they fought at 7:34 of the first period. There was no excuse for Boston to lose, given the two-goal lead and the fact that the Avalanche lost arguably their best player-captain Gabriel Landeskog at 5:46 of the second period after an illegal hit to the head (of Brad Marchand) that resulted in a match penalty (it'll be reviewed by the NHL's player safety committee). For someone that had a concussion earlier this season, Marchand was lucky to have escaped seemingly alright (granted, who knows).

Zdeno Chara gave the Bruins a 1-0 lead at 1:12 as Reto Berra (25 saves) was flopping in his crease and Boston's captain was able to blast a shot from the point for his second goal of the season. It was called a goal on the ice and stood up to a review, Matt Beleskey and Brett Connolly had the assists and the former was judged not to have interfered with Berra. It looked like it'd be an easy night for the home team as Ryan Spooner scored a power-play goal at 5:51, Boston's top-ranked power-play came through for the eighth straight game (their longest streak since Dec. 2006). Patrice Bergeron assisted on Spooner's fourth goal of the season, a simple tap in with Berra down and out of position yet again.

Former Bruin Carl Soderberg cashed in this summer with a crazy deal from the Avalanche and while he predictably hasn't lived up to that so far, he cut it to 2-1 Bruins at 12:08 with one of the best shots that I can ever remember him taking. He went top shelf on Tuukka Rask (27 saves) for his second goal of the season, assisted by Blake Comeau and Jarome Iginla (another former Bruin that they miss). A lucky bounce went Colorado's way late in the first period as Francois Beauchemin's shot from the point took a huge deflection off Joonas Kemppainen that changed it from a fastball to a knuckleball. Rask couldn't glove it and Beauchemin's second goal of the season tied the game, assisted by Erik Johnson and Matt Duchene.

Boston didn't do much offensively the rest of the way to test Berra. Duchene was the subject of trade rumors on the interweb today but he didn't seem to be affected at all by them. He scored the go-ahead goal at 6:49 of the third period. His seventh tally of the season was assisted by Mikhail Grigorenko but it might as well have been credited to Kevan Miller who gave the puck away in his own end (that seems to happen to him every game in Boston). He has played in all 15 games this season so it is time for him to take a seat especially since Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow were both healthy scratches this evening.

Detroit (8-6-1) hosts San Jose (7-8-0) tomorrow night before the Red Wings travel to Boston for Saturday night's game (7, NESN), meaning they should get in late tomorrow night. The Original Six and Atlantic Division rivals are right on the same level and only two points apart so even though it is still early, that game will mean more than most in mid-November. Regardless of the opponent, the B's have to find a way to play better at the Garden more consistently or else they'll be no better than .500 this season and potentially out of the playoffs for the second year in a row.



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