By Jeremy Grabowski | Follow me on Twitter @JeremyBNGhockey
The Bruins playoff run to become 2020 Stanley Cup Champions has finally gotten underway. Just not off to the start everyone was expecting. Now I know that the game against Columbus on July 30th was only an exhibition game, but they looked very sloppy and out of sync with each other in that game. Not much changed when they had to play a game that actually mattered against Philadelphia on August 2nd. This game was their first of the Round-Robin to determine the top four seeds in the conference. Not a lot of good things came out of either of these games except the rising talent of Jack Studnicka and Anders Bjork, but we will talk about that another time. For now, let’s get into the games. Shall we?
It didn’t take long for the Blue Jackets to get hot in the Bruins defensive zone. The Bruins also didn’t have their legs under them as much as they should have. That was made clear on the first goal scored by Columbus in the first period when Sean Kuraly Failed to backcheck and tie up Boone Jenner in front of the net who tapped it in to make it 1-0. Zack Werenski’s goal to make it 2-0 was just a beautiful shot. It could have been blocked by Par Lindholm if he had gotten over a little quicker but wasn’t able to. The third goal was a soft one given up by Rask. Yes, the defensemen should have gotten the puck out of the zone, but Rask was in a good position to make the save but slid too far over and went in five-hole to make it 3-0. The Bruins Lone goal of the game came from a broken play in front of the net and was picked up by David Pastrnak to make it 3-1. The last goal of the game was an empty netter to make it 4-1.
In conclusion, the Bruins really looked like they hadn’t played in five months. They were very sloppy in their defensive zone. They weren’t connecting with each other on simple passes. They were causing way too many turnovers. And they just weren’t in sync with each other at all. Now, again this was just an exhibition game and doesn’t mean anything but I think everyone expected the Bruins to come out a little better than they did.
There’s been 3 or 4 instances in the first period where David Savard has been able to walk in from the blue line and bomb away with time and space. Bruins looking very rusty in their D-zone coverage and transition defense— Joe Haggerty (@HackswithHaggs) July 30, 2020
The game against the Flyers on August 2nd started off strange when it was announced shortly before that Tuukka Rask was “Unfit to Play,” and Jaroslav Halak would get the start in the first Round-Robin game for the Bruins and first meaningful hockey game they have played in over five months. Right from the puck drop in this one, you saw a little bit more intensity from the Bruins and a much better start. They came out with some fire in the offensive zone and in the physicality department as well. But, poor plays in the Defensive zone and turnovers would end up being the nail in the coffin for the Bruins in this one. All four goals scored by the Flyers were right after a turnover or just after what should have been a play where the puck should have been cleared.
The Bruins play their next Round-Robin game on Wednesday, August 5th, vs. the Tampa Bay Lightning, where it has been announced that Tampa will be without their captain Steven Stamkos. That is a break for the Bruins for sure, but they need more than that. They need to step up their play on both ends of the ice. They need to make better decisions coming out of their own zone while transitioning offensively. They need to shoot the puck when they are in a scoring position and not try to make the pretty/perfect pass. The two teams the Bruins have played so far were selfish instead of passive and shot the puck in scoring positions and it worked out pretty well for them. If the Bruins aren’t careful and come out of hibernation soon, they could find themselves in the 4th seed going into the first round of the playoffs after winning the Presidents Trophy in the same year. That is something that has never happened and probably never will again.
🎥 Coop’s morning media included notes on Bogo pairing with Heddy, ruled out Stamkos for tomorrow’s game vs. Boston, and talked the goalie schedule for the next two round robin games. pic.twitter.com/u8hWqRzXOP— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) August 4, 2020