Heading into the All-Star Break the Bruins were riding high on a 12-2-3 run, capped off with a 6-2 win in Philly. After a 10-day break they were greeted with the best possible scenario to get back in rhythm; a seven game homestand. The B’s wouldn’t have to leave TD Garden for two weeks, where they owned a 16-4-3 record.

So far the homestand has been a disaster for the Bruins. Boston has dropped five of the first six games at home and squandered the division lead to Florida. 

The B’s opened up the homestand against Calgary, who had just traded away their top center. The Flames out-hustled, out-chanced and out-everything’d Boston in a 4-1 win. By the eye test and the advanced stats, it wasn’t even close.

A few nights later the Bruins bounced back with authority, trashing Vancouver 4-0. Both teams had been jockeying back and forth atop the NHL standings and the win put Boston firmly in front.

Boston followed that performance with a 3-0 dud against Washington on a Saturday matinee. The advanced stats imply it was close game, as the Caps only record .13 xG more than the Bruins, but Boston only managed 18 shots on goal.

Up next the Bruins hosted the Tampa Bay Lightning, who had won 9 of 12 since their last meeting. Boston got back to their game and outplayed Tampa for the bulk of the night. In the third period alone, Boston out-xG’d Tampa 1.2-.38 thanks to three power play opportunities, however they could not crack Andrei Vasilevskiy. Brayden Point scored the only goal in the shootout and Tampa escaped with the extra point.

Against Seattle, it was more of the same. After a fairly even first period, the Bruins ran away with the analytics, but Seattle ran away with the score. Boston outshot the Kraken 37-26 and held a 3.77-2.75 xG edge, but Seattle won the game 4-1.

Most recently, the Bruins blew a 3-1 second period lead against Los Angeles and lost 5-4 in OT. Boston had their chance to close the game in regulation, but conceded yet another power play goal with under two minutes to play. Not only was it the sixth power play goal the B’s have conceded on this skid, but LA scored with the goalie pulled, proving old habits die hard.

The Bruins failed to convert on a power play in overtime, and LA scored on a breakaway immediately after.

What’s going wrong?

The first couple of duds on the homestand could be attributed to dead legs from the layoff. More recently, the losses could be chalked up to bad puck luck and poor special teams execution.

The Bruins carried the bulk of play against Tampa and Seattle but couldn’t convert on their chances. Washington and LA were fairly evenly played but again, the opposition cashed in on their chances more than Boston did.

The real cause for concern is the 8.7% Power Play and 64.7% Penalty kill since the All-Star Break. Those figures rank 30th and 27th in the league over that time. 

Whether they decide to make a move or just let the puck luck regress to the mean, Boston needs to get a spark back in their play ASAP.

The B’s wrap up their homestand against Central Division-leading Dallas on Monday night.

 

Photo: Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images

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