If it seems like the Boston Bruins have played overtime a lot lately, it’s because they have. Saturday night’s loss to Vancouver was Boston’s fifth straight game to go to overtime, and eleventh since New Year’s. Per Adam Pellerin on Twitter, the Bruins have now played 21 total overtime games this season,  posting an 8-13 record in those games. It doesn’t hurt to pick up a loser point every once in a while, but the frequency and manner of how the Bruins have racked up their thirteen OT losses is cause for concern.

Of the thirteen losses in the extra frame, Boston either entered the third period with the lead, or conceded a tying goal in the dying minutes in eight of them.

Vancouver was the third such occasion where the Bruins ended up with the loser point after holding a two-goal lead; Anaheim on October 26th and Los Angeles last weekend. Boston also blew a three goal lead against Edmonton last Wednesday, but salvaged the extra point in overtime.

According to Ty Anderson on Twitter, the Bruins own a 25-1-7 record when leading after two period this season, which ranks 27th in the NHL. Again, while it doesn’t hurt to pick up an OT loss every once in a while, it’s inexcusable to happen so frequently while dropping winnable games. After the Vancouver game, head coach Jim Montgomery said “it’s not acceptable”.

Previous concerns about the Bruins struggles with extended pressure have been well documented. They’ve conceded a league-leading ten goals when the opposing net is empty and the eight total losses when leading after two are also the worst mark in the league.

Currently, the Bruins are back on top of the Atlantic Division with 81 points. Florida is right behind them with 80 points and a game in hand. 

The division title race will be crucial down the stretch, as whoever finishes second will play the suddenly white-hot Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round. The Bruins HAVE to improve their third period defense and close out games if they want to be serious Cup contenders.


Photo: Darryl Dick / Canadian Press

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