On night where secondary scoring finally arrives, Bruins goaltending & defense unravel

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Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

After knocking on the door over the past couple of games, it finally all came together for Bruce Cassidy and the Boston Bruins. 

A top-heavy offense from the Black and Gold found some relief against the Canucks — with Boston lighting the lamp five times, including just one tally from the Bergeron line.

For the first time in close to 409 minutes of ice time, a forward other than the top trio scored at five-on-five play — with Jake DeBrusk tucking two pucks home from the crease, Danton Heinen getting off the schneid with a power-play goal and Matt Grzelcyk clapping home his first goal of the year off a masterful rush by the Krejci line.

With five goals on the scoresheet through 60 minutes, perhaps Boston’s secondary scoring issues are starting to turn a corner?

That’s great news for the Black and Gold ... so long as your netminders didn’t let through eight goals.

On a night where seemingly everything started falling in place for the Black and Gold, two of the team’s top strengths through the first month of the season — defensive structure and goaltending — picked an awfully bad time to crumble.

Whether it be poor play between the pipes for both Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask or overall uninspired play in the  D zone, the Canucks feasted on every miscue from the Black and Gold — equalling their overall scoring output from the entire 2011 Stanley Cup Final off an 8-5 final.

The NHL leader in save percentage entering the contest, Halak didn’t resemble the netminder that turned aside 107 of the 110 shots that came his way over his last three outings — getting the hook in the second stanza after relinquishing four goals in the period over a stretch of 7:51.

Rask, looking to get into a groove following a sluggish October, didn’t fare too well in stopping Vancouver’s barrage — giving up three goals off of 14 shots, including a gaffe off a clear attempt in which the puck bounced off of Bo Horvat and right on his stick, allowing the center to fire one into an empty Bruins net.

“I was just trying to keep it under 10 (goals) – that’s what I was worried about,” Rask said. “But yeah, you know, like I said, a loss is a loss, it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. It was kind of a crazy game both ways.

“You know, a lot of goals scored and there was – at the end, it looked like everyone was napping in the crowd. It was just one of those games where there wasn’t a whole lot of action on either end – low shots and you know all of a sudden it’s 5-3, 8-5 whatever. So yeah, weird game but that’s entertainment and we’re just providing it.”

Cassidy, much like Rask, was candid in his postgame comments, noting that both Halak and Rask were not up to par against a Canucks team that dropped eight on Boston despite missing a reliable winger in Brock Boeser and finishing the game without a goal from rookie phenom Elias Pettersson (10 goals in 11 games played).

But the two men in the crease were far from the only problem on Thursday night.