Since taking Game No. 1, the Boston Bruins have dropped back-to-back games by a pair of 4-3 finals in overtime, and trail the Ottawa Senators 2-1.
Boston is going to need to improve several aspects of their game if they hope to even the series in Game No. 4 tonight at 7:30 p.m. at the TD Garden.
The Bruins need to get off to a faster pace than they have been in Games 1-3. The Bruins have failed to record a single first-period goal in the series thus far.
The Bruins can’t put themselves in a position where they have to claw back from a large deficit like in Game No. 3, when they trailed 3-1 just 6:05 into the second period.
The Bruins also need to start playing more disciplined. Boston is spending far too much time on the penalty kill. They have committed 11 penalties over the last two games, one of which resulted in Ottawa’s winning goal in Game No. 2 on Saturday.
Boston especially can’t afford to take all of these penalties due to the lack of penalty killers on defense. Boston’s blue line has been banged up all series long, resulting in several players from Providence being called up.
Boston is going to need better play out of their young players. These young players have struggled to fill in for stars such as Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo.
Charlie McAvoy, the Bruins top prospect, is -1 in the last two games and defenseman Tommy Cross was on the ice for three of the Senators four goals in Game No. 3 on Monday.
Fortunately for the Bruins, starting defenseman Colin Miller is expected to return tonight.
Finally, Boston is going to need more consistency out of their goaltender Tuukka Rask. Rask shined in Game No. 1, but his play has been very streaky since. The Bruins seem to get a different Rask in each period. In the first and second period of Game No. 3, Rask allowed three goals, but settled down in the third before ultimately allowing the game winner in overtime.
Rask’s lack of confidence is understandable given all of the injuries on defense, but those injuries make Rask’s play even more critical. The Bruins need him to play like the third highest paid goaltender in the league.