Bruins fall to Desert Dogs in Phoenix
|10.17.09 at 11:57 pm ET|
It’s time to take everything back that was said in complimentary fashion about the Boston Bruins following Friday night’s win over the Stars.
The B’s backslid from Friday’s triumph with a frustrating, offensively limp performance against a trap-happy Phoenix Coyotes bunch in a 4-1 loss at Jobing.com Arena Saturday night. Perhaps the most irritating aspect of the defeat was countless number of quality scoring chances Boston had early in the game, but they simply had no one to step up and finish the scoring plays.
Marco Sturm couldn’t put the puck move on a one-man breakaway in the second period, and eventually was tripped up by Phoenix defenseman Ed Jovanovski. There were several missed connections between Marc Savard and Michael Ryder close to the Coyotes net, and Chuck Kobasew also had a few cracks at the goal during a few prolonged periods of pressure in the second period.
With a compromised ability to finish plays at this particular juncture, the B’s instead need to play fundamental, disciplined hockey on the defensive side of things. They also can’t afford to falter on special teams. But Boston’s dysfunctional penalty kill again reared its head in the second period, and really crashed once defenseman Mark Stuart helped make it a one-goal game with a deep shot from the left point.
The B’s followed Stuart’s momentum-seizing strike with a bad Mark Recchi hooking penalty caused by the 40-year-old forward simply not moving his feet, and — just like that — the Coyotes jumped into a fate-shifting power play. The B’s PK unit fought and clawed to kill the penalty at such a delicate time, but a relentless Coyotes attack on Boston’s cage ended with Massachusetts native Keith Yandle pinching in and popping home a loose puck in front of B’s goaltender Tim Thomas.
Yandle’s whole scoring play was set up by Shane Doan’s heady skate pass across the crease amid a mass of bodies fighting for position around the cage, and following their good special teams fortune Phoenix was up and running. Bruins killer Scottie Upshall banged home a top shelf slap shot to the right corner 44 seconds later that effectively put the game out of reach for Boston, and furthered Upshall’s villain role with the Boston Faithful.
The B’s continue to be a bit of disjointed group after hitting both peaks and valleys during the young NHL season, but the team clearly needs to improve their penalty kill efforts and keep the emotional levels high. Easier said than done, but — as Claude Julien is fond to say — this hockey club still has some work to do.
YOU’RE THE BEST AROUND, NOTHING’S EVER GONNA KEEP YOU DOWN: Patrice Bergeron didn’t show up on the score sheet, but the center played with steely determination while throwing his body around and attempting to create some offensive buzz. Bergeron had five shots on net, and five others attempted that missed the Boston cage — and Bergeron also registered three hits while captaining a line that sustained fairly heavy pressure in the first two periods.
GOAT HORNS: Mark Recchi deserves some mention after very little in the way of offensive production and a pair of penalties over the course of Saturday’s game. The 41-year-old finished at a minus-1, took a hooking penalty during a pivotal moment in the second period that led to the Coyotes’ significant third goal and managed only a single shot on net. The two penalties take by Recchi were the real killer however. Aside from the individuals, a Bruins penalty kill cranking at only 69.6 percent success rate while ranked in the bottom handful of NHL teams isn’t worthy of much glory either.
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