The Boston Bruins need to go to their happy place.
Particularly in the third period, because with the lead and the game on the line it looks like late collapses have gotten into the Bruins’ heads and are threatening to become the culture…
…but while on the surface it may seem like the Bruins are just choking down the stretch, the truth is that the games are lost way before they venture that far. Case in point, on Tuesday night, the Bruins had the man advantage twice in the first period and not only couldn’t score, but they failed to even generate a shot of goal.
There are many other examples of how the lack of intensity and aggressiveness are hurting the bullies, and when combined with the sudden rash of injuries, you get what you got in Winnipeg tonight and in Pittsbugh twice this season: the dreaded inevitable collapse.
The Bruins carried a 1-0 lead into the final frame courtesy of a Brad Marchand gift wrapped goal just eight seconds into the third period, but it wasn’t enough as Blake Wheeler and Evander Kane score goals within 57 seconds of each other midway through the third period as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Bruins 3-1 on Tuesday night at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
Wheeler added an empty net goal with just seconds to play to hand the Bruins their third consecutive road loss and second strait overall, falling two points behind Montreal in the Northeast Division…
…and at 16-12-2 the Jets take over the lead in the NHL’s Southeast Division.
For the fifth time in six regulation time losses this season, the Bruins have blown a third period lead – and they all seem to involve the enemy scoring in bunches.
After a scoreless opening frame that saw fancy skating and tight defense, a freakish carom off the boards behind the red line found the puck in the crease in front of the Winnipeg net and a full speed Brad Marchand swept in from the left and slapped the puck past Jets’ goal tender Ondrej Pavelec to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead.
That was all the Pavelec allowed to get behind him, making circus saves time and again to deny point blank Boston scoring opportunities.
That lead held until 8:16 left in the third when Wheeler tapped in the rebound off Boston goalie Tuukka Rask, who was victimized again 57 seconds later when Rask lost track of the rebound off of a Grant Clitsome shot and Kane snapped it home behind Rask for the game winner.
Winnipeg now gets to enjoy some more home cooking as they host the Washington Capitals on a rare back-to-back double dip on Thursday and Friday and then Tampa Bay on Sunday while the Bruins continue their thus far unsuccessful roadie at Ottawa on Thursday and Toronto on Saturday before heading home to take on those same Maple Leafs on Monday.
When Happy Gilmore went to his “Happy Place”, there were midgets running around, half-naked women toting pitchers of beer and his Grandma hitting the jackpot on a slot machine.
The Bruins would settle for a couple of more goals – because the problem isn’t with the goaltending or the defense, and not necessarily all with the offense, but more with attitude – more aggression, trying to get that extra goal to pad a lead.
Because if this trend of late game collapses continues, it’s going to become ingrained in the players’ heads and in the culture of the team, and before you know it you’re out on the golf course, wondering how it all went wrong…
…beating up other golfers, swearing at your ball, getting hit by Volkswagens…