After dropping their first two round robin games to the Flyers and Lightning, the B's officially have no shot at the No. 1 or No. 2 seed. The President's Trophy winners and only 100 point team in the NHL this season will instead be locked into the 3rd or 4th seed. Spin zone: while it's not ideal it's certainly not the end of the world.
- Despite the 3 goals allowed, I thought Tuukka Rask played well in his round robin debut. He was seeing the puck well and made a flurry of saves before Tyler Johnson buried the dagger with over a minute to go in the 3rd. Didn't play Sunday due to a quarantine for listing "coughing" as one of his symptoms. Needed 2 negative COVID tests to get back to playing. He's healthy now and will be the starter next week.
- Chris Wagner is a goal scoring machine. The 4th line has been the best line, (which you could probably argue could go in the bad category because then your other lines aren't playing well). Kuraly has been a buzzsaw after a shaky exhibition game.
- Torey Krug got the boys going by throwing down with Blake Coleman after Coleman's hit on Carlo. One of the smallest players (and a UFA at year end) gave the guys a spark after a lackluster start down 2-0. Also recorded an assist yesterday by setting up Charlie McAvoy's goal to get the B's on the board.
- Like I said, instead of just rolling over in the 1st period, the B's battled back and scored twice to tie Tampa. Obviously not good enough, but they were certainly better than they were vs. Philly.
- By far the best game from the top line. David Pastrnak got the pucks on net memo. Brad Marchand still looks like he's passing up a few good shots, not sure if he has anything nagging from CBJ game. But the top line took a step forward yesterday.
- The Power Play still seems out of sorts.
- The 2nd and 3rd lines are still trying to get sorted. Jake DeBrusk was invisible as a 3rd line RW vs. Tampa. With Ondrej Kase likely to be in the lineup this weekend I'd like to see JD reunited with Krejci and Kase/Studnicka.
- Nick Ritchie was noticeably physical as expected vs. Tampa, but it's hard to make any case for him for or against. He's played just one game, and like Kase on Sunday, it'll be interesting to see who Cassidy plays in the 1st round. Lots of guys are getting their reps in late. Only reason he's in the "bad" section is because of the lacking identity of the 2nd and 3rd lines. Will he stay with Krejci or will he play with Bjork and Coyle on Sunday? We'll see.
- I think a few guys are still shaking off their rust, like Brandon Carlo for one. But this is what the round robin is for. Hope to see him get back to being the shut down force he can be. Feel like he's been a little flat footed at times.
I honestly wouldn't hate Bjork getting the go with 37 and 63 and moving Pastrnak down to play with Krejci and DeBrusk. I think Krejci needs some help and it wouldn't be too crazy to spread out the wealth of the top line.
- The B's have rattled off three straight losses (including the exhibition) and have yet to hold a lead. They lost the No. 1 and No. 2 seed despite being the President's Trophy Winners, but does that really matter at a neutral site? Tuukka Rask doesn't seem to think so.
"If you want to make a run in the playoffs you have to beat every team anyways. The situation is what it is. I think the worst case that’s going to happen is we’re going to lose the locker room in our practice rink so that’s about it. I really don’t care where we finish. We just have to focus on our game and try to improve that come Sunday and going into next week. You got to beat everybody anyways, so.. whatever."
Again, spin zone: gotta beat everybody anyways. B's were just getting their losses out of the way.
Sunday's game against the Capitals will be the final true tune up before the playoffs begin. Obviously want to get out of the round robin healthy, but a win heading into the first round would bode well for the B's confidence. Looks like they could be seeing Carolina or
Pittsburgh even Montreal(!) to kick off their playoff run. So while this "three game" skid is not ideal, the world is not ending for the B's quite yet. But if they don't find their form soon they could be heading home sooner rather than later. There are still some questions yet to be answered, what will Kase look like? Will Ritchie stay in the lineup? Maybe Jack Studnicka deserves another chance. The biggest question marks are those that remain for the 2nd and 3rd lines. You know what you're gonna get from your top and bottom lines (although you'd like to see more offense from Bergy, Marchy and Pasta). Starts with a win against Washington (they need a win if they even want to think about grabbing the 3 seed, ++ some help).