Bruins continue to blow third period leads
In the first game after the 2016 NHL All-star break, the Boston Bruins blew yet another lead in the third period. At home against the Toronto Maple Leafs on February 2nd, the B’s were up 3-1 early in the final period of action, however saw their lead slip away as Toronto came back to score two in the third, and one in overtime to give the Maple Leafs a much needed win. While Boston did not suffer as badly as they could have, blowing another third period lead in a game is causing major concerns regarding the rest of the season.
Including the game against Toronto, Boston has lost seven games while leading going into the third period. While this may not seem like much on the surface, if Boston was able to hold on to just half of those games, there is an extra nine points available in a very tight Eastern Conference. Even if the Bruins were forced into overtime or a shootout and win half of those games there is an extra six points for them this season. Instead, it is becoming a common theme for Boston to have an okay first period, a great second period, and then either blow a lead or put the game on ice in the third.
This type of inconsistency will cause major problems for the Bruins in the final stretches of the season, and even in the playoffs, (should they make it that far). When facing teams like Washington and Florida and even Montreal, the Bruins cannot lose focus late in games that could potentially end their season.
Admittedly, Tuukka Rask has stepped up immensely for the team, but it cannot be all on him to keep the third period leads. The defenseman need to step up and shut down and push by opposing teams late in games, and the forwards need to have the ability to put games away by either scoring more goals in the third, or constantly being on the attack to put pressure on the other team. Veterans such as Zdeno Chara and David Krejci have to use their presence to be able to finish games in a convincing fashion.
Right now, the Bruins sit in fifth place in the East, with 60 points, and third place in the Atlantic division, seven points behind the Florida Panthers. With Boston on the wildcard line, with teams like New Jersey and Carolina hot on their trail, they need to step up late in games, or else we will have another disappointing season in Beantown.