A third-period rally might have allowed the Bruins to at least escape with a point on Sunday night, but there were few positives thrown around in the locker room after Boston’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Flyers — the club’s third loss in a row.
“Way too many sloppy plays and turning back and not moving forward,” Patrice Bergeron said. “When you do that, everyone is kind of guessing on the ice and no one is really on the same page and they take it to you."
During a 10-period stretch that started on Monday against the Penguins and carried over into the first two stanzas of Sunday’s showdown, the Bruins have labored in all areas of the ice, with opponents tallying 15 goals during that four-game duration.
But D-zone lapses are far from the only concerning trend that Bruce Cassidy and his staff have taken note of during this recent skid.
Poor rush coverage is putting Boston behind the 8-ball
Cassidy has harped on Boston’s coverage of opposing rushes — or rather, the lack thereof — as a shortcoming of this club for most of the first six weeks of the regular season.
Many factors often contribute to odd-man counters down the ice and a D corps’ faults when it comes to keeping opposing skaters in front of it. But for Cassidy, the failure to adhere to the finer details of the game has often drawn the most consternation out of him during said sequences.
Brett Ritchie skating off for a line change in the midst of a Montreal rush on Tuesday — which ended with a tally from Paul Byron — generated plenty of ire from Cassidy following that 5-4 defeat, and the B’s bench boss was once again less than thrilled on Sunday when Charlie McAvoy jumped up into the play and gathered a puck behind the Flyers’ net in the first.
While McAvoy tried to feed the puck to Sean Kuraly out in the slot, it was recovered in short order by the Flyers, who promptly countered with a 4-on-1 rush against Matt Grzelcyk.
As is often the case on odd-man rushes, it wasn’t the first or even second scoring bid that cashed in. But with Boston’s defensive layers in shambles, it was a trailing Travis Konecny that ultimately potted the puck past Jaroslav Halak to open the scoring in the first period.
Boston might emphasize offense from the blue line as a potential fix for its slumping offense, but there’s a fine line between assertive and overly aggressive in the O-zone. Unfortunately for McAvoy,