For the first time since March 2016, the Bruins have dropped five consecutive games in a row, with a 3-2 loss to the Lightning on Thursday night standing as the fourth straight contest in which Boston has failed to capture any points in the standings.
As Boston looks to right the ship on Saturday night against the Panthers, let’s take a look at two concerning — and recurring — trends from this brutal stretch for the Bruins.
The power play might be taking a step backwards: As we noted following Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to the Capitals, don’t expect Bruce Cassidy to completely reshuffle the pieces on Boston’s top power-play unit — even in the midst of what was a 2-for-25 slump at the time.
For as much as the B’s had failed to cash in on these power-play chances for an extended stretch, they have at least peppered whatever goalie they’ve been matched up against during 5v4 sequences. In their previous four games entering Thursday night, the Bruins outshot the competition, 31-7, through 27:28 of TOI during the power play.
But on Thursday against the Bolts, any progress — as frustratingly slow as its been for the last few games — was negated by a brutal showing on the man advantage by the Bruins.
While Boston failed to capitalize on both of its power-play bids, it was the manner in which the Bruins failed to tilt the ice in their favor during that 4:00 stretch — as Boston only managed to land two of its four shot attempts on goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy.
Boston’s final power-play sequence of the night was particularly disheartening. Trailing, 2-1, midway through the third period, Boston was gifted a chance to secure the equalizer after Steven Stamkos was whistled for a hook against Charlie McAvoy.
But in the pivotal moment of the contest, Boston constantly