Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Devils

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Haggerty: 15 thoughts from Bruins-Devils

Here are 15 thoughts from the game with the Bruins and New Jersey Devils tied at a 3-6 score after 60 minutes at the TD Garden and headed to overtime.

FIRST PERIOD

1) Thats all it took was the coach to throw his hands up and start making some changes. Claude Julien tinkered with the lines and put his best playmaker (David Krejci) and finisher (Tyler Seguin) together, and instant offense was born. Krejci looked like he was skating at a different gear than the past month after getting paired with No. 19 and Milan Lucic adds the size and strength that the other two cant provide. Five of the nine shots on net were from the Krejci line and they could have easily had a couple more goals were it not for Martin Brodeur.

2) Tim Thomas looks like hes in You Shall Not Pass mode after the first period. Ten saves for Thomas, and a pair of big stops led immediately to Bruins goals at the other end of the ice. He stoned Patrik Elias cold on a tip in front of the net in the opening minute, and that led to Seguin and Krejci transitioning into a goal. Then he stuffed Kovalchuk and assisted on Tyler Seguins goal after Milan Lucic manhandled Mark Fayne up the left boards.

3) Greg Zanon buried David Clarkson in front of the Boston bench toward the end of the first period and officially endeared himself to the Nation of Black and Gold sweater-wearing members.

4) Long scrap between Shawn Thornton and Eric Boulton immediately after Bostons first goal. Both landed some heavy hits before the decision eventually went to Thornton, but he did end the fight prematurely after appearing to get cut in the forehead area. He immediately exited the ice afterward and didnt return to the bench until the final minutes of the period.

5) Bruins have won nine out of 12 face-offs and appear to be playing with the energy and urgency that everybody expected on Tuesday night against the Senators. Better late than never I guess.

SECOND PERIOD

1) The second period continues to be a dud for the Bruins. As the Globes Kevin Paul Dupont has aptly pointed out, those second period shortcomings have meant the Bruins have trailed going into the third period in 18 of their last 22 games this season. Thats a tough path for a team that is much better as a front-runner.

2) Joe Corvo has to go. His neutral zone turnover led to New Jerseys first goal and he half-heartedly skated to get back into the play as Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise buried Dennis Seidenberg on a 2-on-1. He was taken off the pairing with Dennis Seidenberg for a bit, but then was on the ice for New Jerseys second goal on his first shift paired back up with Seidenberg again. Hes been brutal defensively and non-existent offensively: its time for him to hit the pine for a stretch.

3) Tim Thomas was great in the first period and parts of the second period, but couldnt hold back the Jersey onslaught once it got started in the middle period. The Patrik Elias goal arrived after a puck bounced off Dennis Seidenberg in front of the net and a David Clarkson wraparound bid hit Andrew Ference between squeaking between Tim Thomas and the right post. Not his fault, but Thomas needs to find a way to keep New Jerseys third goal out of the net as he hugs the post.

4) Big miss by David Krejci midway through the first on the shorthanded breakaway looms large now. If Krejci gets that puck past Martin Brodeur it might have been a different game with the Bruins up 3-0. Give Brodeur some credit for locking things down after letting Boston go up by a couple of goals.

5) Bruins cant afford to let this one slip away. Boos at the end of the second period after watching the Bs self-destruct.

THIRD PERIOD

1) The Brian Rolston spot on the Brad MarchandPatrice Bergeron line might not work for very long. Marchand looks like a shell of himself forced to play the off-wing on the right side. Not a good trade-off just to get Rolston into a comfortable spot in the lineup.

2) Two goals for David Krejci. The hot and cold extremes have become more pronounced as he gained experience in the NHL. One has to really wonder why that is.

3) Joe Corvo benched for much of the third period as the Bruins went with five defensemen for long stretch of the final 20 minutes. Its looking more and more like he may be the healthy scratch when the Bs take the ice again Saturday night at TD Garden.

4) After watching one game from Greg Zanon, he is going to fit in really nicely with the Bruins. Three registered hits and a physical presence to go along with the willingness to step in front of any number of shots.

5) Brian Rolston looks like he doesnt have a lot of legs during these grueling shifts for the Bruins. Dont see the skating jets that he used to have in his first stint, but perhaps that was to be expected.

Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity'

Cassidy: Bruins 'have got to have a stronger mental capacity'

BOSTON – While there were some warning signs over the last few weeks that the Bruins might be getting away from their game, it didn’t really hit home until Thursday night’s frustrating loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The Bruins blew through three different one-goal leads in the second period in the 6-3 loss to the Bolts at TD Garden, and each time surrendered a tying goal to Tampa in less than two minutes after initially scoring. It was a clear indicator that the Bruins weren’t fully focused on the task at hand despite having already lost three games in a row, and that their ability to bounce back from adversity is going away from them again. 

That much was obvious when the bottom dropped out in the third period, and Jonathan Drouin and Nikita Kucherov turned into a two-man Lightning wrecking crew outscoring the Bruins by a 3-0 margin in the final 20 minutes. 

“I think the frustration is more in-game, where we’ve got to have a stronger mental capacity to handle those [challenging] situations in-game. Let’s face it, when you get on a bit of a losing streak, all those things creep in, whether it’s in October or whether it’s in March,” said Bruce Cassidy. “You have doubts, you start pressing, and again, it’s my job to alleviate the kind of attention in those situations.

“But, as I told you, we all have to be accountable and be responsible for ourselves, and that’s where we just need to have better focus and better discipline in those areas. It was there when it was 3-3 [on the scoreboard]. We’ve got to push back after they score, and that’s where I thought we started to come apart a little bit where we should’ve stuck together and stuck with the program. [We needed to] get ourselves slowly back into the game. We had 10 minutes to even the score, and we weren’t able to do it.”

Clearly this wasn’t just the coach alone in his pointed observations, however, as the lack of focus showed unfortunately in a rudderless second period for the Black and Gold where they couldn’t gain any separation from Tampa Bay despite scoring three goals. 

“[It’s] not being focused, not being sharp, and obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable, and it’s up on us to be better,” said Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “Those kinds of situations shouldn’t happen. So, for sure, we need to address those things and hold each other accountable.”

One thing is clear: The Bruins have a lot of work to do if they hope to avoid the same kind of late season tailspin that doomed them each of the last two seasons, and already seems to be happening over their last four losses to varying levels of hockey talent. 

Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

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Talking points: Tuukka Rask wasn't good enough vs. Lightning

Here are the talking points from the Boston Bruins' 6-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.