BOSTON (CBS) – The Bruins have largely been a consistent team over the course of the 2013-14 season, but there’s been intermittent points throughout the year where they’ve struggled to close out games, and it’s been happening more and more as of late — including twice already this week.
CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty thinks this is a concerning trend.
“The thing to be concerned about is it’s not just happening lately, this is something that intermittently throughout the year they’ve had issues with — giving up goals at the end of periods,” Haggerty told 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Johnston & Flynn on Friday morning. “When they go through their bad stretches, and there haven’t been many of them, but when they don’t play well that’s what has been killing them.”
“Those kind of goals in the last two minutes of the period, especially the third period, those are absolute killers and momentum destroyers. Those will hurt you badly in the playoffs,” said Haggs.
The blown leads have come while Boston was resting some veterans, and last night Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Tuukka Rask were spectators. But Haggerty did notice one concern late in Boston’s shootout loss to Minnesota on Tuesday, when Boston once again let a late lead slip away.
“The last minute of the game once the goalie got pulled I saw something you never see, which was Chara and Bergeron interested in getting empty net goals,” he said. “Maybe they were more interested in getting a goal in a meaningless game than getting organized in the defensive end and stopping the goal that tied that game.”
“At this point of the year I don’t look at those and get too concerned about it, but (more) the overall trend of allowing those goals,” said Haggerty. “You can go back to Game 6 last year (of the Stanley Cup Final) and the way their season ended, the goals they gave up in that third period in quick succession. You can say this is a problem at times this team has and hope it gets tightened up. If you allow those things to happen in the playoffs it’ll absolutely destroy you.
Boston has just two games remaining in the regular season, and Haggerty expects to see a regular lineup from Claude Julien for at least Saturday’s home finale against Buffalo. If the Bruins lack effort in that one, we could see a regular lineup in Sunday’s regular season finale in New Jersey as well.