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BOS vs. TBL 3/7/20 (Sample Game)

Updated: Jul 22, 2020

In a matchup between the two best in the east, and possibly the league, TBL came out a 5-3 winner in this spirited heavyweight showdown.

Read on for full analysis and breakdown of the contest organized in the following sections.

The Recap - The Story - The Stats - Video Breakdown - Jack Edwards moment of the night


A quick recap of tonight's action by period

1st Period - two shorthanded goals against via unfortunate turnovers put the Bruins down 2-0 early. A few strong saves by Vasilevsky, including a number on the B's Power Plays maintain the scoreline.

2nd Period - The Lightning added to their lead after some good possession and cycle work from one of their heavier lines led to the conversion of a pass in front. An intercepted pass in the D-Zone late in the period sends the Bruins on a rush with McAvoy finishing with a perfectly placed shot after opportunistically joining the play. Sustained pressure by the Bs and a subsequent heavy Chara shot late in the period leads to a goalmouth scramble with the puck just managing to squirt over the goalline. The period concludes 3-2 favoring Tampa Bay.

3rd Period - A power-play goal by Tampa Bay early in the period off an impressive tip by Alex Killorn makes their lead 2 goals. The Bruins on the man advantage minutes later close the gap to 1 again after a vintage Pastarnak one-timer finds the net. Despite some strong opportunities, especially on the counter-attack, the Bruins cannot even the score. Tampa nets an empty netter after a Krejci turnover trying to skate out of the defensive zone.

Tampa Bay defeats Boston 5-3.


Highlighting the key storylines and narratives of the game from across the Bruinsverse

The main narrative of this game was the old-time hockey nature and multiple scrums that took place. One got the sense that this game meant something for two teams coasting towards a playoff spot at this juncture. Most of the major outlets spent time focusing on the feistiness of the contest and their thoughts are noted and linked below.

Special teams play and key turnovers are the secondary stories of the night. Despite a dominant 5 on 5 performance from the Bruins, early miscues put the Bruins in a hole that despite their best efforts they could not dig out of. On the first goal a questionable defensive decision off of a draw leads to a two on one the other way. On goal 2, a sloppy breakout attempt on the man advantage led to a turnover that quickly turned into a goal after the Bruins failed to get back into the zone quickly enough to assume a defensive posture. Even on the empty net a goal, a sloppy turnover at the defensive blue line quickly ended the Bruins hope of a comeback.

4 of the Lightning's 5 goals came in special situations (2 shorthanded, 1 power play, 1 empty net). While it's a positive sign that the Bruins were able to shutdown one of the best offenses in the league at even strength, a few key mistakes in special situations inevitabely cost them this game.

Bruins beat writers, blogs, and twitter had the following to say:

Kevin Paul Dupont at the Boston Globe focuses on the intensity of the affair played by the two east leaders (https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/03/08/sports/bruins-cant-catch-lightning/)

Fluto said....

Stanley Cup of Chowder notes...

BlackandGold focuses on....

Twitter user ....sums up the fans thoughts....


Taking a look at the stats and analytics of the contest to dig under the hood and complement the "eye-test" in breaking down the game

courtesy of MoneyPuck

While the expected goals (xG) in all situations were pretty even, the Bruins were dominant during 5v5 play, posting 2.01 xG to the Lightning's 0.93 xG. This advantage in the predictive stats and the actual 5v5 scoring tonight, showcase how key the Lightning's Special Teams play were to their final results. Nikita Kucherov posted 0.28 xG 5v5 but a game leading 1.06 xG when accounting for special teams situations. This further illustrates the Bruins strength in this game 5v5 and how their special teams play, normally a strength, let them down.

courtesy of NaturalStatTrick

The heat map further illustrates the depth and quality of the Bruins opportunities. If you filter out special teams play, their dominance was even more pronounced.

However, it is important to mention that Tampa Bay was riding a 3-0 advantage before the midpoint of the game and may not have felt the need to play as aggressively. Furthering this theory, a portion of the Bruins xG advantage seems to be a product of their third-period attempt at a comeback.

courtesy of hockeystatscard

Charlie McAvoy had a standout night leading the team in minutes, points, and posting great on-ice differentials in the xG category, a dominant night despite matching up frequently against Nikita Kucherov as well as seeing a dose of TBLs second line. In the Corsi department, McAvoy also had a dominant possession game posting a 63.6%. Illustrating both the strength of possession and the danger of shots and chances can be seen in McAvoys on-ice shot chart seen below. An impressive night for the New York native.

courtesy of HockeyViz

On the flip side, team leader on the season in Game Score, Patrice Bergeron, finished in the pedestrian category, not what is typically expected from the Selke nominee. Despite creating some individual offense with a 0.36 individual expected goals (iXG), the team had a generally low event night while Bergeron was on the ice. The illustration below demonstrates this observation as despite another good two-way effort from the Bruins 1C it is much less busy than McAvoy's night and features a key defensive breakdown (the red circle) which leads to a point-blank goal with Bergeron on the ice.

But perhaps the key number of the night is 2 and 4. 2 being the number of shorthanded goals scored on one penalty kill by the Lightning and 4, including a powerplay goal and empty-net goal, bringing the special team goals output on the night to 4 for the Atlantic's second-place team.


Video analysis examining the finer details of a key moment of the game, an important strategic decision, or a particularly impressive play

Tonight's video breakdown focus on the first goal of the game, a shorthanded mark by Anthony Cirreli. The play starts in the Bruins offensive zone with the man advantage and within seconds are staring at a puck in the back of their net and an early deficit. Let's break it down.

In this first clip you'll see what might have been a clean face-off win turns into a contested puck. Cirelli (TB71) releases from his spot on the hash and quickly closes on the puck. In the past, an offensive winger would hold up the opposing player but not in the NHL in 2020. Pastarnak (BOS88), a forward must decide whether to contest the puck or back out of the zone. He decides to challenge for it knowing he has support from Krug (BOS47).

Pastarnak's challenge (in the circle) is a touch late and the angle he takes to the puck carrier is just not enough to deter Cirelli or make him go wide enough to be less dangerous, at least not without taking a penalty as you can see Pastarnak already reaching. In the meantime, Tampa's Centerman (in the square) has managed to get a step on Bergeron out of the face-off dot.

A 2v1 develops as Cirreli's speed backs Krug off and neither Bergeron or Pastarnak (in the square) can catch the second TB player. As you can see Cirreli has two options with a clean passing lane and a clear path to the night. This forces the defenseman, Krug, to delay closing on Cirreli in order to respect the passing lane.

As the B's forwards catch the TB trailer and space starts to run out, Krug closes on the puck carrier. You'll note in the clip above that Cirrelli's stick, and therefore the puck, is positioned in front of his body. This had given him the ability to pass or shoot. It also forces Rask to line up on the puck where it is at.

Now, however, Cirreli opens up to shoot. In doing so he prevents Krug from getting into his shooting lane. He has also changed the angle just enough that Rask is no longer centered and 100% square for this puck. Review the goal in real-time to see just how quickly Cirreli pulls off this act of deception and a quick release to beat Rask short side.

In mere seconds the Lightning strike (pun intended) and their immense talent gets them a lead they will not relinquish even in a game where they arguably were the weaker team.


Because Jack Edwards...

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