Bruins Drop Game 2 After Ugly Performance
If the Bruins Game 2 game plan was to mismanage the puck as often as possible, they executed that game plan perfectly. The Bruins were credited with 15 giveaways, it felt like 45.
“The turnovers we had tonight were catastrophic,” head coach Jim Montgomery said.
“They were right through the middle of the ice, not typical, we usually have turnovers when other teams are forcing us or we’re trying to make plays. It wasn’t really in areas that you’re typically trying to make plays where we turned it over.”
Credit to the Panthers for turning up the heat on the forecheck, causing the Bruins issues moving the puck out of their own end and through the neutral zone.
“I don’t think we broke the puck out too well; we were a little sloppy and we have to get back to our game plan,” said Tyler Bertuzzi who scored his first playoff goal in the Bruins 6-3 Game 2 loss. “Just playing simple, pucks behind and build off of the forecheck.”
In terms of managing the puck and executing their breakout, everything that the Bruins have done right in those areas went out the window in Game 2, the Bruins ugliest performance in recent memory.
The Panthers played an excellent road playoff game at TD Garden Wednesday night, the Bruins didn’t do much to make it difficult on them, especially in a third period that saw the Panthers outscore the Bruins 4-1, breaking a 2-2 tie.
“I think we got to do a better job breaking the puck out. Again, it’s five guys working together, it’s not just defensemen and it’s not just forwards not scoring goals. We believe in being a five-man unit in every zone,” Montgomery said.
“For the first two periods we thought we did that, except for some of the puck decisions that we made. And in the third period, our game got away from us. For a team that’s been really good in the third period for a long time, it’s an opportunity for us to learn and grow from that.”
The Bruins were never going to go 16-0 en route to a Stanley Cup, but it’s hard to brush off what the Bruins did, or didn’t do in Game 2.
You can make the argument that for most of the series so far, Florida has been the better team.
“I think the number one lesson you learn is how hard it is to win in the playoffs. Florida did a good job, I thought they had a real good game plan,” Montgomery said. “We’ve got to look at the tape, we’ve got to get better and we’ve got to execute better. I thought our work ethic was there, I didn’t think our execution was great.”
Montgomery confirmed lineup changes were coming in Game 3. Where those changes land remains to be seen, but I would expect Matt Grzelcyk to return to the lineup Friday, possibly replacing either Connor Clifton or Derek Forbort.
The Bruins also hope to have Patrice Bergeron back in the lineup for Game 3, Montgomery confirming what we all already knew, that it wasn’t an illness that caused Bergeron to miss the series’ first two games.
Bergeron skated on his own Wednesday morning at Warrior Ice Arena, but was clearly uncomfortable in doing so.
The Bruins missed Bergeron at the faceoff dot, as they only won 46.8 percent of draws. Pavel Zacha who replaced Bergeron atop the Bruins top line was successful on 31.6 percent of his faceoffs.
A change could be coming in net as well. After an outstanding performance in Game 1, Linus Ullmark was once again sold in Game 2, but clearly not as sharp as he has been.
Most of that can be chalked up to the Bruins leaving him out to dry too often. If Montgomery does turn to Jeremy Swayman in Game 3, I don’t think it’s a decision based off Ullmark’s Game 2 performance.