Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports

Bruins employing short memory with Game 5, on to Toronto

Sara Civian
April 22, 2018 - 3:56 pm

The bus that would take the Bruins to their Toronto-bound flight had been parked outside Warrior Ice Arena for more than an hour on Sunday. If they had it their way, it would’ve been long gone.

It’s not always like that after a loss. It can be useful to sit with the feeling when the effort wasn’t there, or some particularly dumb penalty changed the game, or they just don’t show up to Game 82 against the Panthers.

Why should the Bruins marinate in Game 5, though?

They out-attempted the Maple Leafs 90-39 and still came out on the losing end of a 4-3 decision. That was a season high, as was their 69.77% corsi for percentage. Sometimes Leafs goaltender Frederik Anderson just has his best game of the series exactly when the B’s have a slow start they can’t make up for.

That’s really all that happened.

“We need to be better — especially that 5-on-3 — we gotta capitalize on that,” Brad Marchand said. “Last night we needed to be better, yeah, but so far in this series we’ve been pretty good. The first couple opportunities last night their goalie came up with with big saves. That’s how it goes.”

Or, as Auston Matthews would say, (expletive) happened.

The Bruins outshot the Leafs 45-21, but Toronto was considerably more efficient — especially with Nazem Kadri back in the lineup. He drew the Bruins’ uncharacteristically gullible defense into a corner while James van Riemsdyk collected a pass from behind the net and roofed one home on the power play. It was a gaffe the Bruins probably revisited once in the film room, collectively agreed to not let happen again, then tossed in the vault with all the other stuff that needs no over-analyzation.

Defense was obviously an issue in a one-goal loss where Tuukka Rask allowed four goals on 13 shots and dependable spark plug Charlie McAvoy kept losing edges, but Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak are the pulse of this team. Their 18 shots on goal translating to absolutely nothing is a better reflection of the loss.

“They got a lot of chances to score, and when Toronto’s scoring, they need to finish. They need to keep up,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said of his first line. “And that’s the only thing that’s really been missing, for the most part.”

Well, what about Rick Nash? He’s had a similar issue through the series, with 18 shots on goal (third on the team) and only one goal to show for it.

“The puck is finding him because he’s smart, he’s fast and he’s got good hands,” Cassidy said. “Just that finish, this time of the year you need a little more oomph. Everything’s falling into place except that last piece, so hopefully it happens for him.”

So start stronger, tighten up on defense, but mostly finish those chances. When the Bruins attempt 90 of them and lose, what else should they say?

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