For most of this game the Bruins played flat, purposeless hockey. There were some occasional moments of spiked intensity. For the most part, however, the black and gold played a very gray game.
I'm not going to blame Tuukka Rask for the loss or for this slump. It's not his fault most of the team isn't playing well. He hasn't played poorly. Although he also hasn't played well. He isn't helping them get out of this funk. If the B's had a more reliable backup I'd suggest that Rask take a week off to regroup and refresh. You've got three non-conference games coming up, maybe Rask should play in only one of them. Maybe none.
Special teams are killing this team. The power play is 1 for its last 23 (4.3%) and the penalty kill has allowed goals in 10 of its last 27 (37%) shorthanded situations. The Bruins are also committing far too many careless, meaningless penalties. Since the Islanders game on New Year's Eve, they've had to kill 27 penalties and have only been on the power play 16 times. That's a difference of 11 in only 6 games.
The power play has been carried by defensemen all season long. But such production can't be relied on throughout an entire season. You can't depend on Chara (6 PP goals) sneaking in a rebound or Krug (4) driving in a slapshot. The forwards need to pull their weight. Chara and Krug have scored 10 of this team's 24 power play goals.
The return of Shawn Thornton has helped recharge the B's a bit. Brad Marchand put the Bruins up 1-0 a mere 35 seconds after a Thornton fight. Thornton was also on the ice when Gregory Campbell scored in the 3rd.
But each time the Bruins took the lead, they gave it back. They typically play harder after scoring a goal. Last night they downshifted after their first two goals. Very out of character.
They need to get their act together Thursday night in Dallas, because after that it's Chicago on the road and LA at home.
Elise Amendola/Associated Press