The Bruins could have won this game. They should have. They didn't. Let's start with the reasons why they didn't, then move on to the reasons why they could have.
They lost because Chad Johnson is a backup goalie. They lost because of rusty players in their first game after a long break. Neither of those two reasons is cause for much concern. What is cause for concern is that the B's allowed yet another power play goal. Since losing Dennis Seidenberg, the penalty kill has gone from a strength to a slight liability.
There were two Buffalo goals in regulation that could have been prevented with stronger play from the defensemen. The Bruins need to acquire a defensive defenseman. They need a guy who can do the basics of the position and play the penalty kill.
On the bright side, there were plenty of reasons that the Bruins could/should/would have won this game. The power play was amazing. Chara scored a power play goal by camping out in front of the net. And his net-front presence helped Milan Lucic score another power play goal.
Torey Krug also played a big part on Lucic's goal. Krug used the space behind the net to set up a play. Chara and Jarome Iginla kept the Buffalo penalty killers occupied in front of the net. Lucic was wide open on the point and slammed it home.
Maybe Team USA could have used Krug. Not as part of the regular 6-man defensive pairs, but as a specialist on the power play. Krug's 2 power play assists in this game give him 18 PP points on the season. The Bruins have scored 37 power play goals as a team, Krug has been a factor in almost half of them. Among defensemen, he's 10th in power play points. Among American defensemen his 6 PP goals are the most, his 18 points are 5th most. Then again Team USA didn't select the top two US defensemen in power play points (Keith Yandle and Dustin Byfuglien), so what chance did Krug have?
Team USA had plenty of offense when they played Canada and Finland. Ugh.
It's going to be a long time before I get over the Olympics.
Anyway, the Bruins looked much more energized and in rhythm in the later stages of this game. They came back from a 2 goal deficit, took a lead, and Buffalo needed a lucky deflection off Johnny Boychuk's skate to set up their tying goal. This game is not an indicator of the beginning of a poor stretch of play.
The Bruins host the Capitals Saturday afternoon.
Gary Wiepart/Associated Press