By Leon Lifschutz | Follow me @BruinsBreakdown
The Bruins were lethargic for long stretches of the game. They mustered a few moments of jump but rarely sustained the attack throughout. However, as good teams are apt to do, they managed a point – nearly two – despite not playing their best game. Let’s break it down and give out some grades.
Checkout our full game recap HERE.
While the numbers aren’t the whole story they can give us a glimpse into the flow of the game and a starting point for a discussion on what went well, or not so much, in a given game.
The numbers paint a pretty clear picture and reflect precisely what the eyes witnessed. The Devils controlled the first and third periods while the Bruins dictated the middle frame. Special teams, not reflected on this chart, were not as dominant for the Bruins as usual. They struggled with their zone entries on the man advantage though they managed to score a pretty goal shorthanded. The Devils’ speed and energy were just too much for the Bruins to handle this afternoon, including in overtime when Damon Severson was able to spring Egor Sharangovich in the waning moments.
Moneypuck.com’s Win O’meter was pretty clear who it thought was the more deserving team today. The heatmap below shows the Bruins struggled to keep the Devils away from the front of the net including several speedy rushes, a number of opportunities on the door step, and on traffic in front of Jaroslav Halak on shots from the point.
In this section, we give each player a grade for their play in this particular game. The grades are more art than science. The game scores below are one part of the equation giving us an objective measure to start with, though it doesn’t always tell you the true picture of an individual game. Hockey is a game of process and moments. Over the long haul, the process should win out but at a game-by-game level, moments matter. Both will be considered before assigning a grade to each player. Our expectations for each player will also be a factor.
Please feel free to agree or disagree in the comments or on Twitter but keep the name-calling to a minimum.
Jaroslav Halak (A) – Halak nearly stole two points for the Bruins. There were stretches the Bruins kept the dangerous chances at bay but they conceded enough of them that the Slovak netminder had to be sharp. His save on Palmieri on the doorstep and a late Hughes partial breakaway late in the game ensured the Bruins earned a point.
Brad Marchand (A) – Marchand made the key play on the Bruins’ goal, battling for space and threading an excellent pass in stride to Bergeron. He was a zone entry machine, led the team in expected goals percentage, and was good on both special teams.
Charlie McAvoy (A) – McAvoy was outstanding. It is a glimpse into who he continues to grow into. He played the rover position really well. He was better than last game at picking his spots. His defending was excellent breaking up numerous plays with his stick and body. He was not perfect though taking another minor penalty and getting crossed up in the third by Kyle Palmieri for a dangerous chance against.
Sean Kuraly (A) – Kuraly played exactly the kind of game you want from him. He made no mistakes, was physically engaged, and used his speed. His speed was noticeable, drawing a penalty in the third period.
Patrice Bergeron (A) – Bergeron had the Bruins’ lone goal today on a pretty catch and shoot finish, putting the shot against the grain for a sliding Mackenzie Blackwood. He led the team with six shots on goal and returned to the positive side of the possession battle after getting hammered last game.
Anders Bjork (B) – Bjork played fine. He did not standout while playing with the first line but hung with Bergeron and Marchand getting in on the forecheck and playing his part in the cycle game. He, unfortunately, got caught in the line shuffling machine after Kase’s injury and played a disjointed 10:58 over the whole game not doing much positive or negative for the rest of the afternoon.
Charlie Coyle (B) – Coyle’s grade is an example of small moments making such a difference in hockey. For the most part, he had an excellent game and was on track for an A. He transported the puck well through the neutral zone and had a couple of good passing sequences which led to chances, notably a second-period opportunity with Krejci. Then overtime happened. He coughed up the puck at the top of his own circles leading to a difficult save by Halak. On the game-winning goal, he misplayed the attacking player ceding the lane for the breakaway. Both were crucial plays you do not expect from the reliable veteran.
Craig Smith (B) – In Smith’s debut, he came as advertised. After a quiet first period, he picked it up. He was tenacious and kept several offensive zone shifts alive. His effort was most noticeable on the waived off goal, keeping the sequence going and getting to the net for the, unfortunately illegal, distraction. His line did not quite gel in this one possibly due to it being fresh.
Jeremy Lauzon (B) – This was a much better game than game one as Lauzon seemed much more settled. He didn’t overplay defensively and channeled more of his inner cucumber with the puck making simple but effective plays. He is still occasionally overmatched by speedy skilled players exemplified by two different Jack Hughes rushes in the first period though he did manage to recover.
Matt Grzelcyk (B) – Grzelcyk played well. He is a talented puck mover and continues to look comfortable on the powerplay. Some of his deficiencies showed in this game though. For example, despite great positioning and feet, he was outmuscled on the same shift by Palmieri and Boqvist. He also coughed the puck up under pressure extending the sequence where the Devils’ scored their first goal.
Trent Fredric (B) – Fredric continued to make an argument for staying in the lineup even when the whole roster is healthy. He got in on the forecheck and was physical. He continued to get after PK Subban and was successful in drawing a penalty on the Devils defender in the third period. He was strong on the puck and showed he has some skill and ability in tight. He has yet to show that it can translate into production coming up just short again on his opportunities.
David Krejci (C) – Krejci played his best in this one when playing on the wing with the top line. He was solid on the powerplay. He supported the defense well low in the defensive zone and on the breakout. In the first period, his line was caved in and was only a little better in the second.
Nick Ritchie (C) – After generating lots of individual offense in game one, Ritchie didn’t factor in, let alone create many this afternoon. He wasn’t bad and had a few good sequences in the second. From a possession standpoint, his line struggled though Ritchie shouldn’t necessarily be held individually responsible for this. It would have been great to see him influence the game more and silence many of his naysayers.
Chris Wagner (C) – Wagner played fine but he was not the driving force on his line as he was last game. He continued to get in on the forecheck but played more on his heels this game and didn’t create any offense.
Brandon Carlo (C) – Carlo played his game though he had a few tough moments downgrading his final score. He defended well, especially in the neutral zone where he had several good stops. He made some nice plays with the puck early on sending simple, but effective, breakout passes to his forwards. He has improved on puck retrievals. He did have a couple of shifts where he seemed a little flat-footed in the defensive zone and had a crucial bobble late in the third leading to a Hughes breakaway. He also failed to front the puck or tie up the player on the Devils’ first goal.
Kevan Miller (C) – Miller’s game was a dichotomy. He defended well but really struggled with the puck on his stick. His rust at game speed showed though he was never particularly known for his deftness with the puck. He does earn marks for tussling with Wood, and winning.
Jakub Zboril (C) – Zboril showed why he has Bruins’ fans excited. He made excellent decisions defending at the defensive blue line. He does still need to adjust to the speed of the NHL players as he almost missed on a couple of his steps and was turned inside out by Wood on one rush. He makes really good decisions on the breakout and has shown an ability to stretch the ice. His results though in this game were not great as he and Miller were often buried in their zone. He looked better in some limited action with McAvoy..
Jake DeBrusk (D) – Debrusk was pretty invisible in this game. The Bruins struggled from a possession standpoint with him on the ice and he only had one shot or shot attempt the whole game. DeBrusk is not built to drive play on his own but needs to find a way to be more noticeable on a regular basis.
Ondrej Kase (Incomplete) – Unfortunately Kase had to leave the game early in the second and his status moving forward is unknown. The Czech winger caught a stick or glove in the face from Wood and his afternoon came to a close. He had a rough first, like his whole line, but was showing signs of life just before his injury. He did post the second-highest expected goals total on the team in this one, despite less than five minutes in ice time.
Moment of the night
While sometimes the hockey looks a little rusty, Jack Edwards is not!