Sour and sweet moments from Bruins’ blowout loss to Canucks

Matt Kalman
February 23, 2020 - 1:24 am

It was one day shy of two weeks since the Bruins lost a game when took the ice in Vancouver, site of their greatest achievement in the past 47 years.

There was very little to celebrate other than that the final horn sounded once the dust settled on a 9-3 Canucks blowout win. Of course even an 18-3 or 27-3 win will never take bragging rights away from Boston when it comes to Vancouver and the 2011 championship.

Ancient history aside, the Bruins surrendered more than four goals in a game for the third time this season. And both halves of their league-leading goaltender tandem were victimized, with Tuukka Rask giving up six goals on 27 shots before Jaroslav Halak let in three goals on eight shots in just 13:32 of ice time.

There’s no reasons to overreact to the defeat just because of the largesse of the deficit. The Bruins were bound to get beat after winning five in a row since their Feb. 9 loss at Detroit. Playing the second half of a back-to-back, after grinding out a one goal win against a heavy Calgary team, and playing the last game of a three-game jaunt through Western Canada against a team that's been in or near first place in the Pacific Division most of the season, the Bruins had all the ingredients for a dud when they hit British Columbia.

Unless this loss turns the Bruins into some version of the Red Wings, the Ottawa Senators or worse, the Toronto Maple Leafs, no one will remember that the Bruins lost at Vancouver in late February, let alone what the score was, when the Bruins are battling in May.

As you read this on Sunday morning, you don’t need to be barraged with hundreds of words of negativity. So here’s a quick look at the sour spots of the Bruins’ loss, countered with some sweet moments to savor while the Bruins travel back to Boston and await their fate before the NHL trade deadline on Monday:

Sour: You know coach Bruce Cassidy is really ticked off when he breaks up his second-line forward pair of David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk. Cassidy made that move in the second period when the game was still in reach, but it didn’t pay off as Boston continued to handle the puck like they were carrying spatulas.

Sweet: David Pastrnak scored twice to reach 45 goals on the year. He again leads the NHL in that department and is the first Bruins player to reach that plateau since Cam Neely in his 49-goal year of 1995-96.

It should be noted that Pastrnak’s second goal came on the power play and cut the Vancouver lead to 6-2. Showing their maturity, the Bruins celebrated very quietly.

Sour: Will Tyler Toffoli turn out to be the player that got away from the Bruins? The former Los Angeles Kings forward that was traded to Vancouver instead of Boston showed what he could do with two goals and one assist.

The Bruins won’t get Ondrej Kase, their trade pickup from Anaheim, into their lineup until Tuesday the earliest. Toffoli now has a head start in the race to see who was the better acquisition, regardless of the price.

Sweet: Chris Wagner scored his first goal in 19 games. Considering the fourth line’s inconsistencies this season, especially lately, in other areas of the game, he and his linemates could use the confidence boost they might get from a goal, even if it was the last one scored by the Bruins in a dreadful loss.

Sour: Everyone wants the Bruins to stick up for each other. But Tyler Myers’ hit on Karson Kuhlman was clean, and of all people Zdeno Chara should know that a height discrepancy might lead to a hit being a little higher. Chara still decided to jump Myers, risking his health in with the Bruins down 4-1 and sending the Canucks on the power play. Come on, let’s not overreact to the force of hits now.

Sweet: Charlie Coyle dropped the gloves with Bo Horvat, the Boston center’s first fight since 2015.

Don’t expect Coyle to become a regular on five-minute penalty list, but he’s a physical player that might have to stick up for himself or a teammate down the stretch and in the playoffs as the Bruins try to pick up the slack from David Backes, who when he was in the lineup last season played the intimidator role well.

Sour: Most of the game was a disaster for the Bruins, particularly in the puck-management department. They'll practice on Monday, integrate Kase and Connor Clifton into the lineup and we'll see where they go from there.

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