3 Takeaways From Bruins’ 4-1 Loss to Hurricanes

For the first time in the 2022-23 season, the Boston Bruins are facing adversity. On Jan. 28, they suffered their worst loss of the season against the Florida Panthers in overtime, 4-3. Less than 24 hours later, they suffered their third consecutive loss, this time at the hands of the Metropolitan Division leaders.

Outplayed for 60 minutes by the Carolina Hurricanes, the Bruins turned in their second consecutive uninspired outing in a 4-1 loss that was not as close as the final score indicates. Falling to 1-2-1 on their five-game road trip, which ends on Feb. 1 against the Toronto Maple Leafs, here are three takeaways from Jim Montgomery’s third straight loss.

Ullmark Kept Bruins In the Game

You can’t say this one was on Linus Ullmark. The Bruins’ No. 1 goaltender kept his teammates in the game with some big saves in the first and second periods. He finished with 32 saves and the outcome could have been a lot worse if it was not for him once again standing on his head.

Linus Ullmark Boston Bruins 2023 Winter Classic
Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins 2023 Winter Classic (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

He stopped Sebastian Aho in the second period on a breakaway while Boston was on the power play. Later in the period, Ullmark stoned Aho again with a big glove save on a Carolina power play. At the end of the period, Ullmark stopped Brett Pesce’s deflected shot from the point, then robbed Jordan Martinook on the rebound point-blank. In the third period, he stopped Andrei Svechnikov in close with the Bruins trailing 3-1 after Taylor Hall scored, but it was all for naught on a night when Ullmark saw more rubber than his counterpart Frederik Andersen (24 saves).

Bruins’ Puck Management Was Not Good

Puck management has not been the best for the Black and Gold on the trip and it continued against the Hurricanes. In the first period, David Pastrnak turned the puck over at the offensive blueline and Aho took advantage with a goal on a breakaway. In the third period, Brandon Carlo turned the puck over at the defensive blueline and Seth Jarvis pounced on it and scored on a breakaway.

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Offensively, Carolina did a nice job of frustrating the Bruins with their zone entries at even strength and on the power play. In the second period alone, Boston had three power plays and registered just two shots in six minutes. In fact, the case could be made that the Hurricanes had the better of the chances while shorthanded. Defensively, in the second period and trying to kill a penalty trailing 1-0, the Hurricanes took advantage of the shoddy penalty-killing coverage after a faceoff when Martin Necas’ slap shot missed the net and took a bounce off the boards and came out the opposite side of the net where Paul Stastny was alone to tap the puck past a sprawling Ullmark.

Game Was Very Similar to Last Season’s Playoff Series

In last season’s first-round Stanley Cup playoff series, the Bruins lost all four games on the road and all in a similar fashion. Carolina was the faster team, played their system, was more physical, and took advantage of Bruins’ mistakes. You could say it happened again.

Last season in the regular season, Carolina dominated the Black and Gold, outscoring them 17-2 in their three games. Boston won the first game this season at home, 3-2, in overtime, but when the scene shifted to North Carolina, it was more of the same for Montgomery’s club. Yes, the Bruins were on a short back-to-back, however, their same problems over the two previous games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Panthers showed up again against the Hurricanes. Just like in the postseason, the high-danger opportunities were much greater for the home team than for the visiting team. Again.

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It was only a matter of time before the Bruins would face some adversity this season. There was no way that they could carry their start to the season and go through all 82 regular season games at the historic pace they were. Yes, Jake DeBrusk is out of the lineup and his return could come after the All-Star break next month, but the fact of the matter is, they need to work through their current struggles for one more game before their 10-day break. They close out the road trip against the Maple Leafs and another performance like that last two could leave a very sour taste in Boston’s mouth for their extended break. After watching the performance against Carolina, it’s hard not to think that they are in the Black and Gold’s head, especially at home.

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