A few extended thoughts and leftovers from an effort that truly left many wanting in a 3-1 loss to the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum:
1) A really mixed bag for Dougie Hamilton. He had the team’s only goal, and generated seven shot attempts in his 18:23 of ice time, while executing some really nice pinches on offensive rushes. But Hamilton also led the Bruins with three giveaways, and got caught behind the play on multiple occasions as the Islanders pushed the puck in the other direction. It was the second-year defenseman that was caught way behind the play on the Kyle Okposo/Thomas Vanek 2-on-1 rush that turned into a Vanek score for New York’s insurance goal. Hamilton choosing to pinch deeply in the offensive end with John Tavares/Vanek on the ice was a poor choice, and shows that the B’s defenseman still has some work to do. Still, Hamilton is an asset on the power play and somebody that’s been playing at a noticeably high level lately.
2) Brad Marchand led all Bruins with four giveaways, managed only a single shot on net and got beat on a defensive zone face-off that led to Andrew MacDonald’s goal from the point. He was minus-2 in defeat and is the only B’s regular with a negative plus/minus as he sits with a minus-3 rating after 13 games played this season. Things just aren’t getting better for Marchand, and it might be time for a short stint in the press box if a recovering Loui Eriksson is ready to jump back into the lineup this week. Marchand simply isn’t playing like the guy that led the Bruins in scoring last season, and has only the single goal in 13 games.
3) Only one goal allowed was really Chad Johnson’s fault, but the backup netminder didn’t set a great tone when he couldn’t sponge the Thomas Vanek shot in the second period. Clearly it was mostly because David Krejci was caught napping with the puck in front of the net, but Johnson couldn’t handle the quick Vanek shot that followed. The puck bounced and spun in Johnson’s neck/shoulder area until John Tavares smacked it out of the air. Johnson probably should have absorbed the shot to his short side, and will need to be better the next time Tuukka Rask needs a rest. Otherwise Niklas Svedberg might be pushing for the backup position even though his numbers in Providence aren’t stellar right now.
4) Two games and two assists for Ryan Spooner. He managed two shots on net, two blocked shots and was 2-for-2 in the face-off circle while centering Carl Soderberg and Chris Kelly with his trademark speed. While the youngster wasn’t quite as noticeable as he was Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks, Spooner wasn’t one of the reasons why the Bruins lost the game. He’s doing his job providing a spark and showing why he’s going to be a top-six forward in the NHL for a long time to come.
5) Too many Bruins players are making too many mental mistakes. No focus, not enough intensity and plenty of players going through the motions without worry of consequences. It might be time for Claude Julien and his staff to shake things up a little after watching this team put together an inconsistent month of work with an 8-5 overall record.