The Bruins were desperately in search of goals and they found them. So did the Sharks.
Then the Sharks found some more. And some more.
In finally putting up something of an offensive effort, the Bruins got crushed in a mess of a pond hockey game Thursday night. Their four goals were a minor detail in a game marked by hanging Tuukka Rask out to dry in a 7-4 loss (box). Rask had never allowed seven goals in an NHL game before Thursday night.
The Bruins have now gone 0-3-0 in the first three games of their four-game West Coast trip. They’ll wrap it up Saturday against the Coyotes.
Here are four more things we learned Thursday night:
DOMINATED IN THE SECOND
It all began in the second period. After a strong first, the B’s were blown out of the water in the second by the Sharks, who put four pucks past Rask.
They scored after long stays in the offensive zone, scored on the power play (twice) and scored off the rush. San Jose outshot Boston, 24-7, in the second.
The period was a reflection of some pretty shoddy work by the B’s in both the neutral zone and their own zone. While they would gladly take a period in which they scored two goals given their offensive woes of late, the second period showed that pond hockey doesn’t suit the B’s well.
Through the first two periods alone, the Bruins gave up 61 shot attempts, which, as Nick Goss from NESN noted, was more than they’d allowed in a game all season.
REILLY SMITH IS BACK TO SCORING
It wasn’t just that Smith didn’t have any goals in his previous 10 games entering Thursday; he didn’t have any points. That changed 29 seconds into the game, as he finished off a play courtesy of slick passing from Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. He would add a second goal shortly after a Sharks power play goal in the second period.
Speaking of Marchand and Bergeron, Smith was reunited with his longtime linemates Thursday after seeing David Pastrnak skate in his place the previous three games. Smith was put back on the line late in the second period Tuesday against the Kings and stuck there through the game Thursday.
With Smith back with Bergeron, Pastrnak was moved down to play with Chris Kelly and Matt Fraser. Seth Griffith was scratched for the third straight game. The lines were as follows:
Marchand – Bergeron – Smith
Lucic – Soderberg – Eriksson
Fraser – Kelly – Pastrnak
Paille – Campbell – Gagne
THREE-AND-ONE FAILS BRUINS
Dating back to some early-season shootout woes last season, in four-on-four play ‘ particularly in overtime ‘ Claude Julien has opted against skating two forwards and two defensemen and instead deployed a full forward line and one blueliner. That backfired Thursday night.
With Marchand and Tommy Wingels going off for matching roughing minors and the Bruins trailing by a goal, Julien sent Carl Soderberg’s line and Dougie Hamilton out. Joe Pavelski skated the puck around Hamilton and was going stride-for-stride to the net with Hamilton when Lucic, trying to break up the play, accidentally sent the puck into the net his skates as he tried to make a hard stop.
Given that there was less than 10 minutes to play in a one-goal game, it would be hard to criticize Julien’s strategy as he looked for the equalizer. It just didn’t work.
PAILLE’S FLASHY ASSIST
Daniel Paille is known for being good at a lot of things and not-so-good at finishing. That doesn’t mean he can’t play a major part in a highlight reel goal.
Shortly after Smith had gotten the Bruins on the board early in the first period, Paille skated the puck through the neutral zone. With two men to beat as he went to the net, Paille spun around on his backhand and wheeled back forward to send a pass on his forehand to an oncoming Gregory Campbell, who promptly fired the puck into the net for his third goal of the season. Two of those goals have come against the Sharks.