Bruins falter again
Team loses Krejci after head-on hit
A couple of losses don’t necessarily add up to adversity, but mix an injured David Krejci into that pair of L’s and the Bruins all of a sudden have the first wrinkle in their otherwise well-pressed, clean sheet of a start to the 2010-11 season.
A somewhat rubbery-legged Krejci, rocked hard by a TJ Oshie check, was helped off the TD Garden ice with less than a minute gone in overtime, on an evening when the Bruins eventually lost, 2-1, in a shootout with the St. Louis Blues last night.
It was Boston’s first back-to-back losses this season, after dropping a 5-3 decision to the Capitals Friday night, and it left them unsure of how soon Krejci will make it back to the lineup.
Also, for the second time in as many nights, the Bruins went scoreless over the first two periods and only forced overtime when newcomer Greg Campbell sniped in a one-timer from the slot with 7:00 remaining in regulation.
“The way he was playing in net, you have to get your shot off quickly there,’’ said Campbell, referring to Blues netminder Jaroslav Halak, the former Canadiens stopper who is helping shape the Blues into a contender. “To be honest, I didn’t even look where I was shooting, I just got rid of it.’’
The scoring play, off a rush that generated from deep in the Boston end, was one of the Bruins’ few offensive highlights. Nathan Horton twice appeared to score, once in the first period and again in the second, but both times his shots went to video review.
The first, a turnaround shot from low in the right wing circle, ricocheted off the far post and never came close to crossing the goal line. The second, a wrister after Horton made a clever move to deke to the inside of defenseman Eric Brewer, banged off the crossbar and also never crossed the line.
“I think we were snakebitten a little bit,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “Even in the shootout, we had the one goal and two of our guys hit posts.’’
In the shootout, Patrice Bergeron led off and hit the left post. Oshie followed by slipping a backhander by Tuukka Rask. Tyler Seguin, used sparingly as the night went on, came back with the equalizer on a sharp, dynamic backhand lift at the left post. Then came ex-Bruins Brad Boyes, who undressed Rask with a deke toward the left post that dropped the goalie, leaving Boyes free to make an emphatic forehand stuff on a wide-open right side.
The game was then left in the hands of Michael Ryder, who is far more confident these days, but the right winger saw his forehander bang off the crossbar. Night over. And truth is, the 1 point earned in OT losses has very little currency in the standings.
“Great hockey game,’’ said Zdeno Chara. “Really up and down hockey. Not a lot of goals, but I think the fans could see everything else, you know . . . a lot of good chances, big hits, good fights, a lot of battles, big saves from both goaltenders — just a great hockey game.’’
A suspenseful game, for sure. But it took the Bruins well into the second period to start generating good offensive chances.
The same kind of slow start led to loss the previous night, after the Bruins fell behind by 3-0 in the second period. During their hot October, the Bruins had a habit of scoring first and pulling away from opponents. In their most recent two games, they have been sluggish from the opening faceoff, reminiscent of their struggles of last season when they often were challenged to score more than one goal per game.
The Blues moved ahead, 1-0, with 3:20 left in the first when ex-Bruin Vladimir Sobotka potted his first of the season after Alexander Steen pickpocketed Dennis Seidenberg along the goal line to Rask’s right. Steen fed to the slot, where Sobotka was slow to unload his wrister. But the combination of his accuracy and Matt Hunwick blocking Rask’s vision added up to the go-ahead goal.
As the night played out, Julien shortened his bench, going less with rookies Jordan Caron and Seguin. The latter made a costly boo-boo during a Boston power play in the second when he got cute with a pass up to Hunwick at the left point. The ill-advised dish went to Sobotka, who then had to be tripped by Hunwick to prevent a breakaway.
And less than a minute later it got worse when Adam McQuaid was charged with delay of game (puck into crowd), handing the Blues what could have been a game-ending 5-on-3 power play. The Bruins, though, rubbed out the threat, not yielding a shot.
“Yes, we were really happy with our work on the 5-on-3,’’ said Julien, “not that we want to go on it too often.’’
As the night came to a close, the Bruins had yet to provide definitive word on Krejci’s condition. No practice today. Back at work tomorrow in Wilmington, where, for the first time this season, the Black and Gold must try to get their game back on track.