Boston Bruins Can’t Survive Third Period Collapse


3. 70. 4. 98. Final

What started out as a promising performance turned into a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Wild. Going into the third period up 3-1, the Bruins allowed three straight goals and couldn’t manage to tie the game despite a late offensive push.

The Wild started the scoring early in the 1st period when Thomas Vanek picked Matt Bartkowski‘s pocket behind the net and fed Nino Niederreiter the puck on the doorstep. Zach Trotman had swung the puck around to Bartkowski, and there was nobody to help Tuukka Rask out front.

After that, however, the Bruins were in control for much of the game. After a Milan Lucic hit caused a neutral zone turnover, David Krejci was able to find Seth Griffith in stride as he crashed the net, successfully deflecting home the pass to tie the game.

Griffith would strike again in the second period to continue his solid night. On a strong entry into the zone, Gregory Campbell and Griffith were able to catch the Wild slightly off guard. Campbell drew a defenseman down to the ice to block a potential pass, but was able to skate by and find Griffith crashing the net. Griffith tapped in the pass and drew comparisons to Bobby Orr‘s famous goal, as he flew into the air after being tripped up.

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With three minutes remaining in the second, Milan Lucic struck on the powerplay to make it a 3-1 game. After a series of smooth passes, Griffith found Torey Krug, whose slap pass was deflected by Lucic in the slot.

Unfortunately, that would be the last time the Bruins found the back of the net. Usually, the Bruins have a poor second period and play their best in the third, but tonight was quite the opposite. Zach Parise made it a 3-2 game four minutes into the period after a puck with eyes managed to find its way through Dougie Hamilton, Loui Eriksson, and Dennis Seidenberg.

Justin Fontaine struck next, once again taking advantage of the Bruins young defensive combo of Trotman and Bartkowski. A loose puck under Rask was pushed in front of the net by Trotman while Bartkowski followed to Wild skaters to the side of the net. Fontaine was left open out front and beat Rask five-hole to tie the game and completely take the life out of the Bruins.

At this point, the Bruins had not generated any offensive chances for quite some time. Marco Scandella‘s point shot beat Rask high on the glove side with six minutes left in the period lit a fire in the Bruins skaters though, as they generated numerous scoring chances for the remainder of the game. It was a case of too little, too late, though. The Bruins couldn’t manage a point despite being up by two in the third and fell to 2-4-0 at home.

While the Bruins were not exposed by a poor Toronto team on Saturday, they showed clear weaknesses defensively Tuesday night against the Wild. Hamilton continued to show strong offensive play, but even if he does step his game up, he can’t fill Chara’s shoes. The pairing of Trotman and Bartkowski appears to be the clear weak spot and it would not be surprising if a few other defensemen from Providence get a chance before Chara and Kevan Miller return.

The Bruins will look to bounce back on Thursday when they take on the Buffalo Sabres, who managed just ten shots in a 4-0 loss against the Maple Leafs on Tuesday.