Six, two and even was a common saying of former Boston Red Sox Coach Walpole Joe Morgan. It could sort of apply to the Boston Bruins weekend. Six being the first time in nine seasons that the team has been able to put that many pucks behind New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist Sunday night in Manhattan, winning 6-3. The Bruins previous high was a mere three goals. Two is how many points they salvaged this weekend after their lackadasical 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-working, hitting were non existent against the Caps which made for costly penalties and Washington, in particular, Alex Ovechkin made them pay with two power play goals. Passive and mistake prone defense led to opposition breakaways and goals by Eric Fehr & Joel Ward. To a man, the Bruins say they have to be better defensively. 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 its definitely time for the corp to bring some of his intensity and stalwartness to the blue line if Boston has plans of going where they went last year once the 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 breakway goal just over three minutes into the game and had control of that first period outshooting Boston 20-9. But it was the goaltending of Tuukka Rask and Jerome Iginla’s goal off a Krejci pass late in the period which seem to put the Bruins on track, getting back to Bruins hockey and a solid, if not too comfortable 6-3 win.
Even consistency is what the Bruins need from not just their defensive corp, but from all players. Goaltender out. Sunday night Rask was as brilliant as he has been on most night. 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 from the forwards to play hard hitting and discipline hockey. This weekend saw the Bruins taking too many ill-advised retaliatory (Chris Kelly) penalties. 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 monthes to play. It’s that EVEN keel thing they would like to maintain as they continue the race to seed themselves for the playoffs.