By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — The Bruins’ young players have made their share of mistakes to start the season, but those are to be expected from the inexperienced. Their veterans have no such excuse.
Head coach Bruce Cassidy said as much when addressing reporters following the Bruins’ second straight loss to the Avalanche, 6-3 in Denver on Wednesday night. Although the B’s were able to make it interesting when they cut their deficit to three in the third period, the damage had already been done in an ugly second period that was undone by team-wide breakdowns.
It’s what led Cassidy to call out his veterans.
“Some of the decisions that we made away from the puck to put out fires … all we did was create fires, really,” said Cassidy. “I’m disappointed in the group, because that’s where your veteran guys, your leadership, we should be better than that in those situations.
“Like I said, we know we’re going to have some issues with our young guys being hard on pucks, learning the ropes here and how to stay in the game. But I think it really hurt us tonight, our decisions.”
For the second straight game, the Avalanche mostly took it to the Bruins, outshooting them 37-23 and chasing Tuukka Rask from the game after two periods. If you had to boil it down to a single aspect of the game that made the difference, it was the neutral zone, as the Avs consistently and fluidly zipped through while the Bruins continued to make poor decisions with the puck in that area and often struggled just to break into the offensive zone.
The B’s also continued to have defensive breakdowns, which can be put on the veterans as much as anyone. David Krejci, Brad Marchand, Torey Krug, Adam McQuaid, and Kevan Miller were a combined minus-10 on the night.
Krug, who scored the Bruins’ third goal on the power play to cut the Avs’ lead to 4-3 in the third, acknowledged that the Bruins need to show that kind of fight for 60 minutes and not just in the final frame.
“You can try to use as many excuses as you want, but we’ve got to be more committed to battles and I’m a big part of that as well,” said Krug.
The past two games have highlighted as much as ever how big of an impact Patrice Bergeron makes and how badly the Bruins need him back in the lineup. Riley Nash, who centered a line with Marchand and David Pastrnak to start the game, is not even close to the player Bergeron is. It’s still very early and the team still has plenty of time to work through their issues and see what they’re capable of at full health.
Still, the Bruins have enough of a veteran core to give better efforts than they did in their two games against the Avs, with or without Bergeron. When the team’s young talent makes the usual rookie mistakes, it’s guys like Krejci, Chara, and others who need to make up for them. They haven’t done that at a high-enough level so far.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.