By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — So much for momentum. The Bruins rode the highs of last Thursday’s season-opening win over the Predators right over a cliff as they flopped in Monday’s 4-0 matinee loss to the Avalanche. They’re probably glad the Red Sox were on at the same time during that effort.
The Bruins spent a good chunk of the game chasing the Avs, and when they did have the puck they were just sloppy with it. They had 13 giveaways on the afternoon, four of which were by Bruins defenders. And even though the B’s outshot them 29-23, obviously the Avs were the only ones who could capitalize on their chances. Unfortunately, some of the team’s worst defensive breakdowns came with their young forwards on the ice.
Still, the kids should be thanking goalie Tuukka Rask for taking the focus off their mistakes on Monday, because it was No. 40 that had the ugliest blunder of them all. So with that, let’s get to some takeaways from that debacle …
Hopefully, this goal was rock-bottom for Rask already. You have to think Tuukka got his worst goal of the season out of the way here, because it doesn’t get worse than this. For some ungodly reason, Rask decided to race out of the net to try to beat Avs winger Nail Yakupov to a loose puck to his right. Of course, the goaltender didn’t beat the winger, and Yakupov fired the puck into the empty net. It was bad enough that the defense let Yakupov get behind them so easily, but Rask took the play to unnecessary levels of ugliness. Just no need for it.
The Bruins’ power play needs some work. They’re now 1-for-9 in two games and somehow looked even more disorganized with Torey Krug back. The Bruins sure picked an odd time in the game to be unable to get the puck into the offensive zone. You’d think it would be easier with more skaters on the ice than the other team. But never mind finishing on the man advantage, the B’s need to improve at just getting started in those situations.
Jake DeBrusk lost his man on the first goal. Can’t be too hard on the rookie. Mistakes like these are to be expected. But DeBrusk focused too hard on the puck carrier and drifted down toward the corner, where Sven Andrighetto was left wide open near the slot. Rask also could have easily bailed the rookie out, but his glove was just a bit off. It won’t be the last time a Bruins rookie makes a defensive mistake, so it’s important that veterans like Rask bear down in these spots moving forward.
The kids screwed up again on J.T. Compher’s shorthanded score. This time it was Anders Bjork who coughed the puck up to ex-Bruin Carl Soderberg, who led the 2-on-1 with Compher down the ice for the goal. DeBrusk was also on the ice for this one, as pretty much everyone but Charlie McAvoy got caught way too far down low on the play. It was another goal that you wish Rask would snatch away from them in that moment, but it’s hard to fault the goalie when they gave up such an easy rush.
Bruce Cassidy really likes to tinker with the lines. In a striking departure from Claude Julien’s propensity to roll four lines without ever making even the slightest modification, Cassidy moved guys all over the place on Monday in hopes that he could spark something. His line alchemy may come off as a little too aggressive, especially when pretty much nothing was going the Bruins’ way – but the coach clearly isn’t afraid of trying different things when the regular lines aren’t working. He had Brad Marchand and David Krejci together at one point, and DeBrusk on the fourth line with Riley Nash and Tim Schaller.
Here’s hoping that the Bruins bring more of an effort when they complete the home-and-home in Denver on Wednesday night. Then, hopefully, we can be talking about another win and wondering whether they can string two good games together.
Matt Dolloff is a writer/producer for CBSBostonSports.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, CBS, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at email@example.com.