Another year and another disappointment for the Boston Bruins. The historic original six franchise has had its fair share of great memories, but also its fair share of bad ones. Some of the great ones include Bobby Orr flying in the air to Patrice Bergeron’s shorty in Vancouver. Through it all, the team has found ways to have huge upsetting losses in recent years. Two years ago saw them lose the Stanley Cup on home ice in game seven. Last year saw the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning eliminate them in an OT loss in game five.
This year was a different feel than last year. It was pretty clear the Bruins had no shot with last year’s roster against Tampa Bay. This team felt like they had the pieces to make a huge run at a potential seventh championship. The acquisition of Taylor Hall really rounded up the top-six forward group. Mike Reilly stabilized the depleted defense and this team looked scary come playoff time. Sadly, their season came to a horrific end at the hands of the New York Islanders. What went wrong for this Bruins club?
Bottom Six Invisibility
It has been known for many years that the Bruins get most of their production from their first line on offense. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak have been carrying the offense for years now. With that talent comes more pressure to produce in the playoffs. Teams will focus on the superstars more when it comes to shutting down the offense. If a team can stop the top line, it is up for the rest of the offense to step up in the big moments. Sadly, this Bruins team had a bottom-six that lacked any kind of purpose to score a big goal when needed.
Their best lineup for the bottom-six consisted of Charlie Coyle, Nick Ritchie, and Jake DeBrusk on the fourth line. It also included Sean Kuraly, Curtis Lazar, and Chris Wagner on the fourth line. In the series against the Islanders, these guys combined for one goal. That came from Charlie Coyle in game two. That is embarrassing. It made no sense to not put in Trent Frederic for at least one game in the playoffs. This Bruins team needs to re-evaluate the bottom six this summer to have any success next season for a chance at the cup.
The Islanders bottom six managed 18 points, including eight goals whereas the Bruins only mustered up a goal and two assists.
— Matt Watling (@MattWatling99) June 10, 2021
The Bruins defense took a major hit from last season after Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug left during the offseason. They turned to the younger players to step up this year and make the next stride in their careers. While they managed to hold their own for a majority of the season, the playoffs exposed a true hole in their team: depth. Injuries during the playoffs are common for any team during a deep playoff run.
When your defense gets banged up, it is great to have some major depth to turn to in a time of need. The Bruins lacked that and it showed. Brandon Carlo and Kevan Miller missed the final three games against the Islanders. Connor Clifton was pretty solid in relief for Miller, but when Jared Tinordi is your next best option, there is a major problem.
Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen are both first-round picks of the Boston Bruins and both were deemed shittier options than Tinordi. Tinordi was a panic waiver pickup of Boston in March. That is when you know you have some major depth problems in your lineup. The Islanders exposed that and cruised to a series win over Boston.
bruins forgot how to play defense this game. isles will get pumped by the lighting
— Alex Stasiuk (@stasiukalex24) June 10, 2021
Rask Not 100%
Here comes the ridiculous amount of hate for Tuukka Rask. Rask is by far one of if not the best goalie in Bruins history. He has broken countless records for this team but lacks the one thing Bruins fans need: a Stanley Cup ring as a starter. No matter what he does right, he will always get criticized for his play because that is hanging over his head. In these playoffs, he looked great at times, but he was still off on a lot of goals. Now we know why.
Rask has been dealing with a torn labrum in his hip for quite some time now. It is so bad in fact that he will require surgery during this offseason to treat it. People have been up in arms over the fact that Rask played injured while Swayman was healthy and ready to go. That isn’t the point. Rask wanted to be out there with his team and compete and not let them down. He ended up doing so but not for a lack of trying. He gave it his all until the final whistle blew. If Rask was healthy, I am pretty sure we would be seeing a remathc with Tampa tomorrown night for the Bruins.
Not here for the "Rask playing through an injury is selfish!" talk when he gets killed for not playing through stuff and we glorify *every* other player for doing the same thing. The constant moving of the goalposts needs to stop. It's mental illness.
— Ty Anderson (@_TyAnderson) June 11, 2021
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you enjoyed it and found it informative. You can find my work here at TarpsOffSports.com and follow me on Twitter @tarpsoffmclovin. To check out all the other great Tarps Off Sports content, head on over to our YouTube channel. Please contact me if you have any questions or comments we are an interactive sports site that takes pride in interacting with our readers.