Bruins mediocrity continues

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Bruins mediocrity continues

WINNIPEG, MB. The Bruins continue to search anywhere they can find it for consistency.

Once again they didnt uncover it in the game following a stirring victory.

The Bs made it 17 games since theyve been able to string together consecutive victories while dropping a 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets at the lively MTS Centre. The loss in the second stop of their six-game road odyssey continues a long mediocre stretch of .500 hockey thats lasted more than a month for the Bs.

It was a multitude of errors that cost the Bruins throughout the game, but it appeared they were in a good spot when David Krejci tied things up in the opening minutes of the final stanza.

Krejci gloved a Tyler Seguin pass to the middle to stop the pucks momentum and then dropped it to his stick before beating Ondrej Pavelec up high with a floating shot.

But that was it for the Bruins in a discouraging third period collapse.

A couple of rebounds in front turned into a Bryan Little rebound score to make it a 3-2 lead for the Jets, and then Little followed with another Bs blown defensive coverage in front of a scrambling Rask. The defeat marks a five-game personal losing streak for Rask and gives the Bruins plenty of questions to answer as injuries and frittered-away points begin to pile up.
The four goals allowed on 21 shots for Rask after getting more than a week to work on his game might continue to keep him on the bench over the next few games as well.

Rask had given up a sloppy glove side to Alex Burmistrov and a five-hole special to Blake Wheeler in the second period, but the Bs had fought back with goals from Jordan Caron and Krejci to give them new life in the final period. The new life didnt last long as a desperate Jets group took it to the Black and Gold during their normal winning time in the final period.

GOLD STAR: Jordan Caron contributed a big goal in the second period and kicked in some offense where its badly needed with both Nathan Horton and Rich Peverley out with injuries. This might be the best stretch for the former first round pick to carve out a niche for himself with the Bs, and he made a positive impact in 11:12 of ice time against Winnipeg. Hell need to keep the pedal to the metal and create more sparks for the Bruins in a priceless audition period.
HONORABLE MENTION: Tyler Seguin was one of only two plus players on the Bs roster in the loss and he created David Krejcis third period goal with a quick-thinking pass to the middle of the ice. It was a solid bounce-back effort with a pair of shots on goal after Seguin had spent his last trip to Winnipeg up in the press box as a healthy scratch after missing a morning meeting.

BLACK EYE: Zdeno Chara appears to be laboring out on the ice and hasnt been a consistent defensive stopper through this long stretch of mediocre hockey from his Bruins team. Chara was on ice for Winnipegs first two goals and is an unsightly minus-6 in his last three games. Worst of all it appears that either crushing fatigue or some kind of physical discomfort is really slowing Chara down on the ice and limiting his physicality. Hard to tell whether its fatigue from the lack of rest at All-Star weekend, but thats a possibility. Either way he doesnt look like himself.

TURNING POINT: It appeared that the Bruins had seized the momentum when David Krejci potted a goal during the first minute of the third period to tie up the game, but things just completely fell apart for a Bruins team deviating wildly from their defensively conservative system. After limiting the Jets to 13 shots through the first two periods they allowed 12 shots in the final 20 minutes to Winnipeg and finished with a whimper where they normally close out games with strength and dominance. The Bruins appear to be a weary bunch these days.

BY THE NUMBERS: 3 the number of points for Winnipeg winger Blake Wheeler on a night he killed his former Bs with four shots on net and a plus-2 in 20:48 of ice time.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "Its always tough when you lose and youre trying to find your game. You try to find your comfort zone. Sometimes you just cant find it. Youve just got to keep fighting. Tuukka Rask, who has lost five in a row and allowed four goals on the first 17 shots he faced in defeat.

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Boston goalie Tuuka Rask has been hard to beat this season and was at his best against Buffalo again.

"You start thinking, `how are we going to get one by this guy,'" Sabres coach Dan Bylsma wondered aloud Saturday.

Rask nearly shut out the Sabres for the second time in a month, keeping them off the scoresheet for 2 1/2 periods and making 17 of his career-high 35 saves in the third to help the Bruins hold on for a 2-1 win.

"Every team likes to have these kind of goaltenders and a lot of teams do," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "We're just fortunate enough that he's been one of those guys that, whenever you slip a little bit, or lose a little bit of momentum, or you're having a slow start, or a tough night, those guys step up and help you win some hockey games."

Over his last 11 starts, beginning with his 4-0 shutout over Buffalo on Nov. 7, Rask is 7-3-1 with a 1.36 goals-against average and a .947 save percentage.

"I feel good," Rask said. "I'm seeing the puck well. Guys are doing a great job keeping them on the outside and clearing the rebounds for the most part, so that helps out."

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their last four.

"We're getting better as a team, we're getting points and climbing up the standings," said Krejci, who has 10 points in his last 12 games. "Hopefully we can keep it up."

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

"First two periods, we had a tough time generating some offensive chances," Sabres defenseman Cody Franson said. "They kind of just stayed on top."

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:44 of the third when he knocked in the rebound of David Pastrnak's missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and flip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. Julien said Beleskey will be evaluated when the team returns to Boston. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Buffalo had just three shots on goal in the first period.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.