By Joe Haggerty
OTTAWA The Bruins have been fine-tuning a leaky defense for the last handful of games.It looks like they found something.There wasnt much in the way of offense for most of the contest, but the Bruins managed to grind out an emotionless, somewhat joyless 4-2 win over an Ottawa Senators team that looked more AHL than NHL at Scotiabank Place.Nathan Horton broke a 1-1 tie midway through the third period when he snapped a puck high short side over Robin Lehner to give the Bruins a workmanlike victory over a scrapping Senators squad.Dennis Seidenberg potted an insurance marker on the power play that hinted at what Tomas Kaberle will bring the unit, and Brad Marchand fired home his second goal of the night and 18th strike of the season to finish off the scoring for Boston.Marlborough, Mass native and former UNH standout Bobby Butler put the Senators on the board in the second period with a streak that whistled through the teeth of the defense and Tuukka Rask, and then celebrated with a leap into the boards. The young Bs attack evened things out when Tyler Seguin notched his fifth point in the last six games while orchestrating a Brad Marchand snapshot from the top of the right circle.The score remained the same deep into the third period thanks to Tuukka Rask, who looked free of rest and second-guessing while making30 saves in the victory. His best was a full butterfly stop in the middle of the third period on a 2-on-1 pass from Alex Kovalev to Nick Foligno that he never gave up on.Just a few short minutes later Nathan Horton sniped his 15th goal of the season, and the Bruins had themselves two wins to kick off a long road trip that continues through Western Canada next week.
Joe Haggerty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs
BOSTON – The Bruins are doing it again.
With a team that was badly in need of a win, the Bruins couldn’t get any separation from the Tampa Bay Lightning before ultimately sagging in the third period on the way to a deflating 6-3 loss at TD Garden on Thursday night.
It marks four losses in a row for the Black and Gold with Thursday night as the worst among them, and doesn’t extinguish any of the concerns that Boston is in another late-season tailspin.
Jonathan Drouin beat Tuukka Rask with a shot from the face-off circle that dipped underneath his glove hand for the game-winner, and Nikita Kucherov added the final two goals to give him a hat trick for a Bolts team that snapped their own three-game losing streak.
This game had all the warning signs after a nondescript first period with the Bruins giving up goals immediately after they scored three times in the second period. The first was a David Pastrnak power play strike for his 32ndof the season, and the Lightning struck 44 seconds later with a Brayden Point rebound score after a big breakdown by Boston’s best players on the ice.
Zdeno Chara again gave the Bruins a short-lived lead on a shorthanded goal in the second period, but Tampa Bay responded with a blistering Nikita Kucherov one-timer just 24 seconds later with the Bolts still on the power play. Boston scored again on a Riley Nash wraparound bid that he threw off the diving Victor Hedman in the crease, and Boston had a brief one-goal lead once again.
It was 1:35 later that Anton Stralman beat Rask high to the glove side on an odd-man rush and that set up a third period where Tampa Bay scored three unanswered goals and sent the Bruins to their fourth straight loss.
BRIGHTON -- The Bruins took Wednesday off and returned Thursday with assurances they weren’t thinking about history repeating itself for a third straight season.
The easy parallels are there, of course.
The Bruins lost 9 of their final 14 games and missed the playoffs by a point two years ago. Last season they went a pathetic 3-8-1 in the final 12 games and once again missed the postseason by a single point.
So their recent three-game losing streak has set off some warning bells and whistles, as has the fact that the Toronto Maple Leafs have passed them and pushed the B’s into the second wild-card position. Boston holds a slim two-point lead over the New York Islanders for that final playoff position, and is facing huge games against the Tampa Bay Lightning (tonight) and the Isles (Saturday).
So with all that in mind, has interim coach Bruce Cassidy’s message changed at all to his players?
“These are teams [close to the Bruins to the standings, so the games] get more magnified and rightfully so,” said Cassidy. “We accept that and we know what’s at stake. The last two didn’t go the way we wanted them to, but the things we do well, we need to keep doing well. We’ve created some looks at the net. We’re generating some offense. We need to finish a little better, and those pockets of the game that get away from us . . . we need to minimize those. We had a few too many of those [moments] against Ottawa.
“We’re aware of it. We know who won and who lost last night. But we need to take care of our business. If we do, we’ll be fine. We really will. If we take of our business, it doesn’t matter what this team does or what that team does.
"That’s a fact. That’s the message. It’s quite simple. If we take care of business, we’ll be fine. If we don’t, then we’re hoping.”
Clearly taking care of their business includes dispatching both the Lightning and the Islanders. Hoping is what the Bruins ended up doing in each of the previous two seasons, and it left them fully out of luck once the music stopped.