The Bruins enter Thursday’s fling with the Minnesota Wild feel great about yourself,
Granted, they didn’t face the toughest competition in their last three matches. But Bruce Cassidy eventually found a scoring balance throughout his lineup, with 13 different skaters finding scoresheets during that period.
Playing their fourth game in six nights, the Bruins faced an uphill task against a young up-and-coming wild swarm. They did not hesitate to match Minnesota in materiality and scoring opportunities, but once again lost against a team ahead of them in the NHL standings.
Frankly, none of the teams maintained a good tempo with the times of the special teams during the first 40-plus minutes. But on a night filled with missed calls, special teams play, hot temper, and former Greeley Tribune College standout Matt Boldy scoring his first career goal in his NHL debut, the Bruins dropped a 3-2 decision in front of a lively TD Garden crowd. Gave.
Here’s what we learned after Greeley Tribune’s first loss of 2022.
Special teams interrupted the flow of the game.
A powerful power play and/or penalty kill can provide the difference. But a game full of special teams games can disrupt any momentum established by two teams on any given night.
Thursday provided a good example of the latter. The Bruins and Wilde combined for 50 penalty minutes and 13 power-play attempts – eight for Minnesota and five for Greeley Tribune.
Boldy’s first career marker provided the game’s only even-strength table. This gave Wilde a 3-1 cushion in just 14 seconds after Trent Frederick’s minor Kirill Kaprizov’s time limit ended.
Before long, the Bruins had taken a 1-0 lead at Taylor Hall’s 4-on-3 marker at 6:35 of the first period, only to see Jonas Brodin go by 5-point on Kaprizov’s one-timer. On-3 and Nico Sturm tiptoes on to K. Shot.
Brad Marchand put the Bruins within striking distance of a 5-on-4 power play effort with their 12th of the year, making it 3-2 wild. But the Bruins couldn’t get back on track at 5-on-5. The situation forced Cassidy’s hand to rejoin David Pasternak with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron as Craig Smith became one of many Bruins to fall into the proverbial blues from the development of off-kilter special teams.
“I don’t think either team had a ton” [of chances] 5-on-5,” said Greeley Tribune’s sixth-year bench boss. “It was one of those games where there was zero flow.”
The Bruins managed a pair of power-play markers without Charlie McAvoy as he treated a lower body injury. Still, he found himself neutral on a night full of suspicious calls.
The shoddy caretaker took center stage.
Anyone named Chris Rooney would usually fit the Greeley Tribune stereotype to a tee. Still, this night’s chief executive once again felt the brunt of the passionate Bruins fan base after another rough night.
A pair of missed calls on a high-chipped breach against Hall and a trip over Pasternak in the middle stanza provided the light of the evening. The make-up calls going against Wilde in the third period were even worse. On a third-period icing call after Pasternak won a race for the puck after the officials’ performance was locked in two stages.
The job of a referee is not easy. Thanks to social media, every mistake multiplies tenfold. It’s a gig that a 12-year supporter like Hall, even in a frustrated state, begs not to.
“The referees have a tough job, and I don’t envy being in their place,” Hall said. “I thought I was sticking high in the second period, which was pretty obvious, and the only way to attract a high-sticking penalty is to fall down. He didn’t see it that way. He called the game what he called. …and, like I said, they have a tough job.
In fact the officials had their hands full in the physical altercation between the two teams. But he allowed the anger of the two teams with each other to rise to the highest level with the least amount of history.
One Bruin, in particular, had a particularly hard time noticing things.
Trent Frederick was a little careless.
For most of his youth career, Frederick had a habit of toeing on a fine line to get under the skin of opponents. But Thursday provided a rare development for the 2016 first-round selection.
Friedrich, who scored in consecutive games, did not go into the playing misconduct zone, but came very close to it after climbing Kaprizov in the middle of the second period. Wilde apparently took exception after seeing his star challenge Frederick in his first two encounters with defenseman Dmitry Kulikov.
Kaprizov did not return. Wild remained irritated at Frederick throughout the third period. So another encounter with the St. Louis native took place at the beginning of the final stanza, this time involving Marcus Foligno – brother of Bruins forward Nick. Frederick got an extra two minutes for high-gluing moments before dropping the gloves for the second time.
Neither Frederick nor Cassidy thought there was any malice for the Kaprizov hit. But they both understood why Minnesota was upset after last season’s Calder Trophy winner pulled out of Thursday’s competition.
“He’s a good player. I hope he’s okay. Obviously, I didn’t mean to hurt him,” Frederick said of Kaprizov’s hit. “I was just trying to play hockey and finish a check, and I didn’t really see it, but it looked like he had fallen so it was hard to tell. Obviously, he’s a good player, so they came in [and protected him] on that.”
“I didn’t think he had any malicious intent other than to separate him from the puck, which you better do or he’ll hurt you, right? You just have to do it in a legal case.” Cassidy said. “It seemed clear to me. They didn’t see it that way. Obviously, Minnesota is going to react because it’s one of their best players. I get it. We would have done that. But I don’t think so.” Was anything malicious with that personal hit.”
The Bruins would have acted similarly to Wilde had the same hit regardless of their role, but especially if it had happened to their top players such as Marchand, Bergeron, Pasternak, and McAvoy. But now they’ll wait and see if Player Safety offers Frederick a hearing ahead of a difficult two-game road trip with respective Saturday and Monday tussles against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Washington Capitals.
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