The second period is beginning to look like this seasons bugaboo for a Bruins team without a lot of question marks.
The Bruins were outshot by a 13-6 margin and fell behind the Senators in Tuesday nights second period at TD Garden, but once again their lackluster second period was trumped by a superior effort in the final 20 minutes of the game in a 4-3 victory over Ottawa.
Over the course of the season the second period is the only time the Bruins have been outshot by their opponents by a 518-495 margin though theyve still outscored opponents in the second period by a 51-34 margin. Either way Claude Julien feels that the Bruins have fixed some of their lackluster starts to games that plagued them earlier in the season, and they are the most dominant NHL team in the final 20 minutes over the last two seasons.
But, Boston, theres a problem with the second period. When things arent going well, that seems to be the time when their play wanders away from the systemic game plan the coaches have put in place.
Every year, there seems to be a challenge in certain periods. I thought we were doing a pretty good job earlier on in the second period, but lately thats our game. When our game falters a little bit, we kind of come out with an okay first but then struggle through the second, said Julien. Desperation sets in for the third period, and thats what were trying to do here. Last year was always a 60-minute effort going into the playoffs because the regular season was a challenge in regards to that, and right now it is a bit of a challenge to put a full 60 together.
So put the middle 20 minutes among the check list of things that the Bruins have to work on while eking out games since Christmas, and battling to find the consistency that seemed automatic during the months of November and December. It might start with channeling the same kind of desperation the Bs have in the final 20 minutes with the game on the line. More often than not the Bruins are winning games when theyre not necessarily at their best, and thats the mark of a pretty good hockey team.
Its been necessity, recently. You know, were a good team. We know that. We might not always do it for the whole three periods, which is what we want to do, said Tim Thomas. We did it for a good portion there in November and December. If we havent had a real good period in a game yet then well probably have it in the third, right when we need it.
The second and third periods are probably the perfect example of where both the Bs and Senators franchises are at the moment. Boston is the champion with the confidence theyre going to pull it out in the end while Ottawa still has some questions to answer as a young, contending team that couldnt quite hang with the Bs once the dial got turned up in the third.