The Bruins took a couple steps forward prior to the Christmas break. Then they returned and jumped a mile backwards.
A top-to-bottom lackluster showing from the B’s resulted in a 6-2 blowout loss to the Blue Jackets (box). The loss dropped them to 18-15-3.
The Bruins, who were coming off consecutive wins over the Sabres and Predators, have still won three games in a row just twice this season. Getting blown out just when it appeared they were finding traction served as a perfect microcosm of their 2014-15 season.
The Bruins will return to the Garden this week to host the Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Senators.
Patrice Bergeron took only three shifts in the third period and did not play the final 13:14 of the game Saturday.
Bergeron, who in the first period scored his seventh goal of the season, left the bench midway through the third. Claude Julien said in his postgame NESN interview that he was being cautious with Bergeron and sent him to the room himself.
SVEDBERG YANKED, BUT HE WAS ALSO STARTED
For the first time in his Bruins career, Niklas Svedberg was pulled from a start. It was done for good reason. He was not good.
Svedberg was taken out in the second period after allowing his third goal of the game, but he had to be bailed out by David Krejci in the final seconds of the first period in a 1-1 game.
Facing a bad-angle shot from Matt Calvert off the rush, Svedberg kicked a big rebound to David Savard, who had half an open net to deal with. Fortunately for the Bruins, Krejci went down and blocked the shot with his leg to keep the game tied.
When Kevin Connauton’s second-period goal chased Svedberg, it marked the third time this season the B’s have made an in-game goalie change.
Claude Julien often accuses the media of second-guessing, so we’ll good on it here. The decision to start the backup Saturday was puzzling. Boston was coming off two straight wins in a season that has seen them struggle to string wins together, and Rask had been off the ice with the rest of his team for three days entering Saturday.
CLAUDE HATES THE CALLS
There’s no telling whether Claude Julien is more disappointed in his players this season or the NHL‘s officials. Julien’s on-bench reactions to penalties have been stronger than ever, and he has passive-aggressively vocalized his issues with officiating to the media on several occasions this season.
On Saturday, Julien appeared highly displeased with a slashing call against Brad Marchand. After Nick Foligno called on the ensuing power play, Julien could be seen on the bench muttering choice words.
BRUINS WASTE POWER PLAYS
The Bruins got a much-needed first power play when Savard was sent off for interference midway through the second period with Columbus holding a 4-1 lead. Boston squandered that power play, landing just one shot on goal.
The Bruins soon again had reason for hope, when Fedor Tyutin was called for slashing Patrice Bergeron, but the B’s again failed to score and spent the last quarter of the man advantage in their own zone.
Craig Cunningham tipped a Gregory Campbell shot past Curtis McElhinney on the next shift to finally bring the B’s within two, but Matt Calvert would increase Columbus’ lead to three again with a goal in the final minute of the second.