The Boston Bruins fell to the Detroit Red Wings (4-2) in a matinee game yesterday at the TD Garden 3-2. It was the team’s second loss in three games and once again they played better than their opponent, but failed to capitalize on their scoring chances. The Red Wings on the other hand, made the most of their opportunities. It was another tough loss for the Bruins as their offensive inconsistencies continued.
Coming into the game, the Bruins knew they were facing a different team than the one they defeated 4-1 last Thursday. That Red Wings team was playing their third game in four days and had just played an overtime game the night before in Carolina. The Bruins wouldn’t be able to wear down Detroit this time around. Because of this, the Bruins needed to be sharp, particularly on special teams.
Boston had five power-plays, including a 5 on 3 opportunity midway through the third period for nearly two minutes. Despite a barrage of shots during their two-man advantage, the Bruins were not able to get one past Detroit netminder Jonas Gustavsson. Gustavsson, who did not know he was getting the start until 20 minutes before game-time, was brilliant, saving 28 of the 30 shots he faced.
The Bruins once again struggled at times entering Detroit’s zone on their power-play. When they were able to sustain offensive zone time on the man advantage, they just weren’t moving the puck around the umbrella formation quick enough, letting the Red Wings’ penalty killers close up the shooting lanes before the Bruins could fire on net. One of the players the B’s brought in to help with scoring on both the power-play and even strength is Jarome Iginla.
Although it has only been a small sample size (five games) the veteran power forward has struggled getting his offensive game going. Whether it’s Iginla pressing a little for his new team, or early season rust, Bruins coach Claude Julien hopes the prolific scorer with more than 500 goals scored in his career can turn it around going forward.
“I think he can shoot the puck a lot better than we’ve seen him. We know he’s a good shooter. Whether that’s pressing or whether that’s circumstances, I don’t know. He’s been around the league long enough. He’s going to find his way and he’s going to score some goals for us. He’s going to be the player we thought he would be for our hockey club. Right now, it just isn’t there. I see maybe a little hesitation in shooting. When a player has confidence, his release is a little quicker, too.”
Iginla’s struggles shooting the puck were evident in the loss. He led the team with five shots, none of which found the back of the net. In fact, there were a couple of shots that had a better chance of hitting a fan than the goal. Although the team as a whole needs to improve on the man advantage, Iginla was specifically brought in for his scoring abilities and thus far has been a disappointment in that area.
The Bruins were arguably the better team yesterday but just couldn’t get the production they were hoping for from special teams. The Bruins power-play so far in the season ranks 26th, scoring just over ten percent of the time. The team needs to do something to get their power-play going to have success in a very tough Atlantic Division. If Iginla can start burying some of his chances like he has shown he is capable of doing over his long career, I believe the Bruins power-play could improve dramatically.
Boston hopes to have more success on the man advantage in their next game on the road Thursday against the Florida Panthers (2-4). In that game, the Bruins could face old friend goalie Tim Thomas, who helped the team win the Stanley Cup in 2011. If Thomas does get the start, Boston hopes he won’t be as dominant as he was for them in the 2010-’11 season.
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