Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports

Rangers 4, Bruins 2: This is not sustainable

Ty Anderson
November 08, 2017 - 11:35 pm

The Bruins cannot speed up the healing process for their injured stars, but as a 4-2 loss to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden showed, it would help just about everything.

(For a complete recap of the game, click here.)

It almost goes without saying that what the Bruins have done to date remains remarkable, even with tonight’s defeat. They’ve captured points more often than not (they have points in nine of 14 games and in seven of their last nine games overall), and successfully managed to keep their heads above water despite having their one-two punch of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci together for less than two periods this year.

But it’s clear that this is not sustainable for this depleted-beyond-recognition roster, and that their situation is only going to get worse as their schedule strengthens.

The Bruins can probably afford to go 0-for-4 on the power play against a sleepwalking Wild club. They can afford to be outworked in front of their own net two times in 20 seconds by the Golden Knights. These teams have holes that the Bruins -- even when down six regulars, and three of their most important forwards -- can expose for a win.

But they can’t afford to do that on the road against the Rangers.

And they can’t afford to go into multi-goal holes against goalies like Henrik Lundqvist.

“What bothered me was that they were more competitive in front of the net than we were in the first half of the game,” Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy said after the loss, which dropped the B’s to 6-5-3. “And then we decided to get competitive and you see what happens. You know we get our goals and then keep them out of the front of the net and keep the puck and everything is under control. So that’s what bothered me. They were much more competitive in that area than we were. Then we got ours in the end. And that’s generally hockey a lot of the time. You win the slot battle and the front battle, you do pretty well a lot of the nights and they were able to do it better than us.”

It was on the power play that these absences were especially noticeable, too, and with an 0-fer coming at some of the worst times possible, including late in the third, when a would-have-been power play was canceled out by a David Pastrnak penalty. But even before that, you saw the Bruins trot out a real Murderers' Row of a second power-play unit, with Jordan Szwarz and Matt Beleskey asked to perform roles that are simply above their play at the moment, and with countless opportunities simply left by the wayside against Lundqvist. 

“We wanted to get results on that [powerplay] and right now we aren’t getting them and it’s a good opportunity and we did and good job drawing them to get out there,” Cassidy acknowledged. “But you know the most frustrating is the start of the game, we put ourselves in a bad spot. And in this league it’s tough to come back, we had a couple of moral victories or whatever you call them, and we showed that we do have some character and we are willing to fight to the last whistle. We just have to learn quickly here not to put ourselves behind the eight ball. The teams are too good.”

And truth be told, the Rangers are probably one of the weaker teams the B’s will go head-to-head with over this next little stretch, too. Yikes.

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