Chara’s Absence Costs Bruins on Thanksgiving

Bruins left with nothing to be thankful for, fall 3-1 to Ottawa

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Boston walked in to the Canadian Tire Center in Ontario looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss at home. Instead, they were met by passionate fans, and a Canadian team that couldn’t have cared less what American holiday it was. Zdeno Chara missed his first full-game of the season, and left the young defense with the task of stopping Ottawa’s potent offense. Kevan Miller looked strong in his return from injury, despite making a mistake leading to an Ottawa goal. Also returning from injury, David Pastrnak shined early, scoring yet another goal in this still young season. Ottawa got the better of the play, and left Boston questioning their identity without Z on defense.

 

Boston put the first goal on the board late in the first, after an Ottawa penalty put Boston on the power play. After a scrum in front of the net, the puck found its way to David Pastrnak’s stick, and he pulled off a magical goal, his 11th of the year.

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Courtesy: Getty Images

Ottawa would not sit dormant for long, however, as the Sens found themselves on the board midway through the second. 13 minutes in, Mark Stone tied the game, after a defensive breakdown cost Boston their one-goal lead. Kevan Miller showed his rust, leaving a gaping passing lane, leading to a mini-breakaway goal from the Senators. No further goals were scored in the second, but Ottawa would find twine twice in the third, spoiling Boston’s Thanksgiving Game Parade.

3 UPS:

1. David Pastrnak –

Surprise, surprise! David Pastrnak finds himself in the UPS once again. The kid’s been white hot to open up his third season, scoring a team leading 11 goals, despite playing in 5 less games than the team. He’s averaging a point a game and has just looked sharp. He’s cleaned up his defensive play, bulking up a bit in the offseason, which has helped him drastically. He’s a totally different player than he was a year ago. Don’t let him slip, Sweeney!

2. Kevan Miller –

Take away the ugly mistake that led to the tying goal, and Kevan Miller played a strong return game. After missing the first 19 games to recover from a shoulder surgery, Miller was expected to not be a star defenseman out of the gate, but he played well. It wasn’t a mind-blowing, total lockdown defensive game, but there really wasn’t much he did wrong. For his first game of the year, this low-end defenseman’s game, was an up.

3. Only 3 Goals Against –

You can’t use Chara as a scapegoat for bad play, but I think we were all sort of expecting a bad game from Boston. Chara is their “rock” no matter what anybody thinks. Sure, he may be far past his prime, and do more bad than good now, but he’s still an intimidating man to play against. He gets in your head, simply because of his incredible size. The intimidation factor is what makes him great, not his play. Without that intimidation and experience, Boston was vulnerable last night. We saw last year what happens when Chara is out of the line-up (6 Goals Against on opening-night), so for this to only be a 3-1 game, not bad.

 

3 DOWNS:

1. Losing on Thanksgiving –

Well, it’s not ideal. Boston went in representing Massachusetts last night, meaning they represented the home of the first “Thanksgiving.” By default, they are expected to win, especially a game in Canada, on an American holiday. Why this atrocity of a scheduling decision was made in the first place is definitely up for questioning, but that doesn’t change the fact that Massachusetts and the USA were embarrassed last night by the play of the Bruins. Disgusting.

2. Has Anybody Seen Our Offense Lately? – 

Seriously, have you? Because I think they packed up and took a few days off. One goal against Ottawa? Are you serious? Ottawa has a middle of the pack defense, also known as the kind of defense Boston has enjoyed lighting up this year. Yet only David Pastrnak was able to gather any sort of scoring touch last night. I thought defense was our problem, but now the offense appears to be letting us down as well.

3. Tuukka Rask –

It pains me to say it, but Tuukka Rask’s hot start, may be over. Giving up 3 goals in each of his last 2 starts, Rask just hasn’t looked like the same goalie that started the year. Maybe it’s just bad luck, and he’ll bounce back, but it doesn’t look very promising. I’m not saying that giving up 3 goals each for a 2 game span is a bad thing, but when you look at the streak of one or no goal games he had, three goals seems very large.

 

3 TAKEAWAYS –

  1. David Pastrnak sits with 11 goals and 4 assists, totaling 15 points, in 15 games played.
  2. Kevan Miller made his season debut last night, and looked alright. Give him a week, and I have no doubt he will be one of the key players on the blue line.
  3. John-Michael Liles and Brandon Carlo picked up the slack in Chara’s absence, leading the team with 20:09 and 20:00 minutes, respectively. They were the only defensemen to not see a goal scored while on the ice.

 

3 STARS:

1. Kyle Turris (C-OTT)

2. Mark Stone (RW-OTT)

3. Bobby Ryan (LW-OTT)

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