Hits and Misses: Bruins-Senators

Hits and Misses: Bruins-Senators
November 16, 2013, 2:00 am
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With the Bruins snapping their four game winning streak overall – and their 11-game winning streak vs. the Ottawa Senators in their building dating back to April 7, 2009 – here are three hits and three misses for the Black and Gold.
*Loui Eriksson continues to put up points and is riding a five game point streak for the Bruins since returning healthy to the Black and Gold lineup. The goal in the first period is becoming a familiar sight: Eriksson camping down low in front of the net and redirecting a shot past the goaltender. Three of his four goals this season have been tipped or redirected attempts of point shots, and reveal that tipping pucks might be a part of the 6-foot-3 Eriksson’s skill set. There’s certainly always room for a big-bodied player willing to pay the price around the net, and it appears that Eriksson is more than ready to do just that.
*Matt Bartkowski used his skating legs and healthy point shot to help create both of Boston’s goals in the first period, and it appears he’s getting his skating legs under him after three straight appearances for Boston. It looked like Bartkowski might have also collected his first NHL goal when his point blast looked to bounce off Ottawa defenseman Derek Grant’s stick, but it was later ruled that the puck also bounced off Loui Eriksson’s stick as well. It’s tough luck for Bartkowski, who also lost a goal last season in Carolina when replays showed that his point blast bounced off Milan Lucic’s skate en route to the net. Bart will continue getting chances to excel offensively as Adam McQuaid is out for the remaining two road games after not going on the trip with the Black and Gold.
*Brad Marchand bounced back from a rough Thursday night effort against the Blue Jackets by playing with high energy, and getting into a little bit of the rough stuff that gets him invested into the game. Marchand made a nice play in the first period when he jumped Erik Karlsson at the blue line in order to set up a scoring chance for Patrice Bergeron, and then eventually scored when he dangled through Zach Smith and Colin Greening before roofing a shot past Craig Anderson. Marchand had a goal, a plus-2, three shots on net and a pretty good effort against the Senators that had the B’s agitator in proper focus when that didn’t seem to be the case 24 hours earlier.  
*Tuukka Rask clearly wasn’t at his best in the third period as Ottawa was firing 17 shots at the net, and managed to sneak three past the Bruins goaltender in less than nine minutes of action in the final stanza. The Jared Cowen point shot was aided by Chris Kelly, Reilly Smith and Johnny Boychuk all crossing in front of the net as the shot was released, and a clean shot from Bobby Ryan off a Smith turnover that very clearly beat the Bruins goaltender between his pads. Rask has been plainly excellent for the bulk of Boston’s games this season, but he was far from good when the game was lost in the third period.
*The Bruins’ third line needs to start pulling their own weight. Carl Soderberg actually led the Bruins with six shots on net and had a couple of great scoring chances turned away by Craig Anderson at the beginning of the third period. But Chris Kelly and Reilly Smith managed just one shot on goal apiece, and that third line was on the ice for two goals against in the third period as things unraveled. The B’s could use some secondary scoring for Soderberg, Kelly and Smith if they can finish off some plays, and they clearly can’t have a trio that should be defensively responsible accounting for goals against. The Smith play was brutal as Ryan just picked his pocket by the blue line before rifling a shot through Tuukka Rask’s five hole. The three forwards were a minus-6 in the loss, and that needs to change as all three forwards have gone through a bit of an offensive lull over the last few games.
*Something just doesn’t look right about David Krejci. He finished with a minus-1 rating along with two shots on net while losing 8-of-10 face-offs over three periods, but it was beyond the numbers. The B’s playmaking center looked passive and timid at both ends of the ice, wasn’t challenging opponents carrying the puck around him, and threw pucks away on more than one occasion. A couple of times Krejci just watched Clarke MacArthur either dangle it by him, or take it right off his stick in the defensive zone. He appeared to be playing in a little bit of a fog after Brandon Dubinsky smashed his head into the boards on Thursday night, but he also passed Boston’s standardized concussion testing. The playmaking center now hasn’t looked comfortable in two games since getting hit in the head, and that doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. The Bruins and Krejci have to hope that the fog lifts for a player that had been incredibly consistent this season.