BOSTON – The Bruins know they have to be better with their puck management heading into a pair of playoff games against the Rangers.
The B's took home a 2-0 lead in the series by firing off five goals against New York goalie Henrik Lundqvist, but they also piled up 16 giveaways to only a single official turnover for the Broadway Blueshirts.
Boston's puck management was actually pretty good in the third period, but careless plays led to both Rangers goals and a bevy of other offensive chances in the opening minutes of the second period.
Johnny Boychuk had a standout effort with the game-winning goal in the second period to go along with three blocked shots and three hits in 23:22 of ice time, but even he was hit with the turnover bug. The Bruins defenseman put one right on the stick of Derek Stepan, and had to be bailed out by Tuukka Rask.
“I served that one up like a pizza,” said a sheepish Boychuk. “Thank goodness, Tuukka was there to pick me up.”
A Brad Marchand turnover in the neutral zone led to Ryan Callahan’s first-period goal, and there were a number of careless Bruins plays with the puck that allowed the Rangers to out-shoot Boston by a 16-9 margin in the second period.
The video footage of their mistakes gave coach Claude Julien and the Bruins coaching staff plenty of material to work with at Monday’s practice.
David Krejci had two assists in the game, but he was the leader in the B’s turnover brigade with three. Fellow forwards Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, Rich Peverley and Jaromir Jagr all had multiple turnovers in Game 2.
“I think it was us. When you look at some of the turnovers, just inside the blue line, turns around and it’s intercepted . . . you could see it coming from the bench,” Julien said. “You could see the passes from our end on their sticks. A lot of that stuff was our own doing.
“I think we can be better in that area, although we played a pretty good game. Most of those things came in the second period. We just have to be a little bit better. I thought our third period was much better in regard to puck management.”
The improved puck management led to a pair of goals for the Bruins that allowed them to pull away from the Rangers, and also ended a run of partial breakaways that Rask was relied upon to squelch.
"Sometimes we do a good job of getting pucks in, but you don't want to limit your creativity while trying to avoid some of those turnovers," said Shawn Thornton. "In the second period we had a few too many [giveaways]."
Can the Bruins enjoy sustained success while carrying the puck carelessly? Would a more conservative approach limit a Bruins offense that has been highly productive through two games? And do the Rangers have enough offense to make the B’s pay when mistakes lead to scoring chances?
How both teams handle their puck management will be one of the long-running themes in the series. For now, the Bruins want to reduce their turnovers and make it that much more difficult for the Rangers in New York.