BOSTON (CBS) — Six, two and even was a common saying of Walpole Joe Morgan, former Boston Red Sox manager. It’s a saying that could apply to the Boston Bruins’ weekend.
Six would represent the first time in nine seasons that the team has been able to put that many pucks behind New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist in a 6-3 win Sunday night in Manhattan. The Bruins’ previous high against Lundqvist was a mere three goals.
Two is how many points they salvaged this weekend after their lackadaisical showing Saturday afternoon in a 4-2 loss against the Washington Capitals at the TD Garden. Two would also be the number of games off the hellish March calendar which leaves 15 games in 28 days.
And even … well that would not be how the Bruins played in said weekend games.
Intensity, hard work and hitting were nonexistent against the Caps, which made for costly penalties. Washington, in particular Alex Ovechkin, made them pay with two power-play goals. Passive and mistake-prone defense led to Washington breakaways and goals by Eric Fehr and Joel Ward. To a man, the Bruins say they have to be better defensively, and it’s hard to believe the Bruins recorded five hits Saturday afternoon. Obviously the Bruins defense has suffered a bit since Dennis Seidenberg tore up his knee, but it’s definitely time for the corps to bring some of his intensity and stalwartness to the blue line if the Bruins have plans of going where they went last year once the regular season ends.
Sunday, the Bruins seemed to pick up where they left off when the Rangers’ J.T. Miller picked off an errant David Krejci pass at the New York blue line for a beauty of a breakaway goal just over three minutes into the game. New York had control of that first period, outshooting Boston 20-9. But it was the goaltending of Tuukka Rask and Jarome Iginla’s goal off a Krejci pass late in the period which seemed to put the Bruins on track, getting back to Bruins hockey and a solid, if not overly comfortable, 6-3 win.
Even consistency is what the Bruins need from not just their defensive corps, but from all players, goaltender out. Sunday night, Rask was as brilliant as he has been on most nights. He has to maintain that level of play to allow for those mistakes that the young defensemen will make and not cost the team. Consistency is needed from the forwards to play hard-hitting and disciplined hockey. This weekend saw the Bruins taking too many ill-advised retaliatory penalties (Chris Kelly), which is not a good thing at any time, but especially when your penalty kill is as bad as its been since the Seidenberg injury.
The Bruins have played six months of the season with two months to play. It’s that even keel thing they would like to maintain as they continue the race to seed themselves for the playoffs.