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Bruins Post-game breakdown: Round Robin #2: BOS vs TBL

Photo courtesy of @NHLBruins

The Bruins showed some signs of life in this one though they still struggled over some stretches and in certain facets of the game. Despite clawing back from a two-goal deficit, the Lightning struck late with a goal to end the Bruins' chances for the top seed in the east. Let's get into the breakdown.

Sections: The Recap - The Story - The Stats - Video Breakdown - Moment of the Night


A quick recap of tonight's action by period

1st Period - After the teams traded some chances in the early going Tampa struck at 12:25. The two first lines traded chances leading to an odd-man rush for the Lightning. Rask made a good save on a cross-ice pass but failed to control the rebound allowing Brayden Point to knock it in on the ensuing scramble. Not long after, a sloppy too many men call led to a Tampa powerplay. The Lightning promptly set up in the zone and sent a pass to Victor Hedman for a one-timer from the top of the umbrella. The puck found it's way through to Alex Killorn who redirected the puck of his skate and into the net.

The remainder of the period was a little more ornery with a Torey Krug versus Blake Coleman fight and several other scrums.

2-0 TBL

2nd Period - The second was an even period that saw both teams get some opportunities but it was a much less eventful period. It featured fewer odd-man rushes and fewer attempts on net overall.

The Bruins though managed to breakthrough in a big way. A faceoff win by Patrice Bergeron went from low to high on to Krug's stick. Krug promptly moved the puck to Charlie McAvoy who, while sliding to the center of the ice, one-timed a shot that alluded the glove of Vasilevsky.

An end or period collision led to a Nick Ritchie lost tooth.

2-1 TBL

3rd Period - The Bruins managed to tie it up in the early going. The Bruins 4th line was able to retrieve the puck and move it from low to high up to Zdeno Chara. Chara rifled the puck to the net and with all 3 Bruin forwards involved in the ensuing scramble, Chris Wagner poked the puck home for his second goal in as many games. The game seemed destined for OT until less than a minute and a half remaining. A neutral zone regroup led to a Yanni Gourde rush. Gourde's shot was stopped by Rask but banged home by a crashing Tyler Johnson.

3-2 TBL


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

While Bs fans are going to be bummed out by a 3rd loss in a row, we at Bruins Breakdown are going to look at the positives we found in this game. The Bruins are a team with a clear identity - limit chances against, be lethal on the counter-attack, create some O-zone time, and capitalize on the power play. And be a pain in the you know what to play against. For large stretches of the game, the Bruins were able to play that kind of hockey. They did deviate from that plan early and late which cost them the game but they sustained it over an extended period of time for the first time since the restart. Getting back to their identity coupled with a strong effort from Tuukka Rask bodes well for the Bs as the knockout round approaches.

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


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

Expected Goals

Some stats are wonky. Sometimes they tell a pretty clear story. I believe this chart is pretty clear and reflects what the eye saw tonight while watching. Tampa had the better of the chances early on en route to taking the 2-0 lead with odd-man rushes and chances in tight. However, for 40-45 minutes in the middle, the Bruins played their game and patiently chipped away at the lead while limiting Tampa's chances. However, a late Tampa push was too much despite several strong saves by Rask.

Expected Goal Charts Courtesy of MoneyPuck.com and naturalstattrick.com

Game Score

Understanding Game Score

courtesy of Hockeystatcards.com

The Bruins 4th line had another strong game getting the equalizer by doing what they do best, forechecking, and getting to the net. In particular, Chris Wagner had a strong game and ranks high in the game score due to his goal, of course, but also the fact that he was able to generate a number of individual scoring chances. The line did fade in the 3rd after grading out high in the advanced stats through two periods.

As a line, Bergeron-Marchand-Pastrnak put up 58% of the shot attempts and 63% of the expected goals while potting an actual goal along the way. Marchand though continues to struggle, posting the worst numbers of the group and getting caught on a line change for a goal against for the second game in a row.

But the biggest concern of the game was probably the second line who got hammered by every metric. Ritchie and Kuhlman created a couple of chances by crashing the net from wide and Krejci had a couple of good setups but this was not a line that meshed. Each member of the line posted low game scores and as a line, they only put up 24% of the expected goals. Cassidy has more tinkering to do in order to get Krejci's line right which is expected for Sunday's contest.


Understanding Heatmaps

Heat Map courtesy naturalstattrick.com

Today's game presents a second instance where analytics tell us the story of the game. The Bruins played passively in their defensive zone. They were content to allow shots from the wide point as evidenced in the map. In the pre-game, we discussed Tampa's movement in the O-zone, something the Bs were able to mostly eliminate with their structured and patient play. However, we can also see the blue heat in front of the Bruins' net, a product of great scoring chances and second chance opportunities primarily off of the rush, a topic for this game's video breakdown.


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

For this game, we are going to look at Tampa's 3rd and game-winning goal. While it was obviously a key moment in the game and eliminated the Bruins chance at the number one seed, it is also a lesson in how Tampa puts an emphasis on possession entering the offensive zone. Tampa has a number of set plays on their controlled breakouts or neutral zone re-groups in order to come up ice with the puck as a unit. This is just one example but a particularly poignant one in terms of the impact it had on the game and the round-robin standings.

Let's breakdown the play.

McDonagh has the puck as both teams try and complete a change. Tampa has completed theirs enough to set their forwards in motion which we will see in the next clip. While McDonagh has Sergachev at the bottom of the screen as a bailout, recognizing he has no pressure on him due to two Bruins forwards changing, he decides to stretch the ice.

While blurry, we can see the Lightning's forwards patterns. Gourde cuts across the blue line, Killorn cuts the other direction a little above the blue line and Johnson curls through the middle of the ice. Note how much the Bruins are backed off because of Gourde and Killorn. Note the speed Johnson is building as he curls. Having said that, the Bruins back-line is well placed to defend the current rush.

In the blurry image, Killorn has just received the pass from McDonagh. He can keep it, move it to Johnson curling, or touch it through to Gourde.

Killorn chooses to touch it through to Gourde, a deft play that springs Gourde behind most of the Bruins defenders. Killorn continues his path and heads wide into the zone. Johnson, finishing his curl will follow behind Gourde to support the puck. Not only will Tampa enter the zone with possession, but well set up for a scoring chance.

Gourde has streaked down the wing and approaches a shooting position. Krug, noting this, has to vacate the middle and close on Gourde. Seeing that their teammate is primed to shoot both Johnson and Killorn beeline for the net.

Gourde wisely shoots for a rebound and gets a juicy one right out front. Johnson, using the speed he built through the neutral zone is behind all the Bruins' jerseys. Killorn also has a beat to the puck given he took a good angle with his own speed. But Killorn is not needed as Johnson makes no mistake as he pounces on the rebound for the game-winning goal.

Hockey is a fickle sport. The Lightning's 3rd line had been demonstrably dominated throughout the game. But a well-structured play, strong execution, and tenacity to win a foot race makes them the heroes of this game.


Tuukka trying out for the Finnish National (Soccer) Team

Well, unfortunately, another loss in the books and the first seed is out of the question. But the Bruins still have a chance to tune-up against a top competitor on Sunday. Listen to Jack Edwards, Beeee Therrrre!

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