By: Carter Hochman I Follow me on Twitter @Carterr33
It was a tale of two completely different games between game one vs. the Dallas Stars and game two vs. the revamped Philadelphia Flyers. People may forget that the Flyers are a completely new-look team this season, almost completely overhauling their blue line. With additions like Keith Yandle, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Ryan Ellis, adding two new offensive threats (one of which capitalizing last night) in Cam Atkinson and Nate Thompson, and tossing someone in the net which at one point was ever so briefly a Boston Bruin in the person of Martin Jones. Including last night, the Flyers have scored 16 goals through their first three games.
It was not the Bruins’ best performance, to say the least. The Flyers scored quickly eight minutes and eight seconds into the first period after the Bruins seemingly had the front foot in momentum to start the game. This set the tone for the rest of the game. Even though Karson Kuhlman (who’s earned his spot in the lineup, by the way) scored eight minutes later, the Bruins shot themselves in the foot and gave up a late goal with nine seconds left in the period. I think it goes without saying that early goals and late goals will kill your team just about every time. This trend continued as Philly added another tally less than two minutes into the second period.
It’s not to say that there weren’t glimmers of hope and decent play as Taylor Hall scored a beauty of a goal on a breakaway and Marchand tied the game at three, but once again, the Bruins were not exactly at their sharpest, letting Philadelphia score less than a minute into the third period and at that point, it was just about over.
So what exactly went wrong? Why did the Bruins look so complete in game one and so inconsistent and careless with the puck in game two? I have some theories. First off, it was weird of the NHL to schedule the Bruins’ season opener and their second game four days apart. It’s tough to solidify an identity early with no consistent gameplay. You can practice and train all you want; it will never fully replicate live games. Second, for whatever reason, the Bruins seemed determined to lose the puck in bad spots causing odd-man rushes all night long. It was maddening, to say the least.
Third, Swayman did not look comfortable or sure of himself, which is the first time we’ve ever said that in his young career. This will more than likely lead to Linus Ullmark (who they spent a pretty penny on) getting his first start with the Bruins against his former team, the Buffalo Sabres, tomorrow night. The Sabres, by the way, are 3-0 to start the season and have scored 12 goals, only allowing four against in that timeframe. This is not a game to take lightly if you’re Bruce Cassidy and the Bruins.
It’s good to have a tough loss like last night early in the season rather than later. You can take it, learn from it, and grow from it. I’m more than positive the film session from last night’s game will have plenty of examples of where they can improve.
P.S. The Bruins were without Nick Foligno for just about the majority of the back end of that game with an “upper-body injury.” According to Bruce Cassidy, he “just pulled something” and “we’ll see how he is tomorrow.” Well, today is tomorrow, and we don’t have any new information, but if I’m Bruce Cassidy (which I’m not), I’m resting Foligno against Buffalo. It’s early in the season; this isn’t the Cup playoffs, no need to push a player and lose him long-term.
It’s a 1-1 start to the season. Not bad, but not great. Lots to look forward to.