Trending Topics: ‘Trust the process’ time for Bruins, but plenty to work on

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It’s not just that they couldn’t claw back the one-goal deficit the Leafs built in the second, it’s more that they only generated seven shots in that desperate final 20, completely counter to what had previously been a pretty strong track record of harrying Freddie Andersen.

This was another game in which the Bruins amassed a huge advantage in attempts — all situations, nfl jerseys cheap china 5-on-5, whatever you like — but didn’t do a good enough job of getting in close on the Toronto goaltender, only about a week after it looked like he was melting down.

For this series, the Bruins have a sizable advantage in all-situations shot attempts (plus-53) and shots on goal (plus-36). But the series is tied, headed back to Boston for a decisive Game 7 despite Tuukka Rask’s guarantee. And worse, Andersen suddenly looks like Dominik Hasek in his prime.30

Not to slice things too thin here, but after Andersen conceded eight on 45 in Games 1 and 2, he tightened things up to allow just nine on 141 in the next four games. This despite a Bruins onslaught in Games 3 and 5 in particular, in which the Bruins blitzed the Leafs defense for a combined 87 shots.

It must be frustrating if you’re the Bruins to run into these problems. Andersen looked as solvable as a 12-piece puzzle for toddlers, but now he’s the Gordian knot. So the question for the Bruins is what changed from Games 1 and 2 to now, and what can be done to counteract that.

For one thing, and this is a little more anecdotal, it sees like the Bruins got scared by Toronto’s ability to stretch the ice once the series shifted back to Toronto, and made some changes that made it harder for them to keep the puck in the attacking zone. You move your defense back and the forwards up, to both pressure the defenders going back in retrieval mode and keep the opposing forwards honest, and you’re giving up some puck support if you generate the turnovers you’re looking for.

Obviously it also helped that the Bruins just had every puck go in for them in the first and second games and perhaps overreacted to the Game 3 loss, despite putting 42 shots on net. But Toronto is good enough to make you pay with a stretch pass and you have to respect that, so at this point it’s more of a balancing act.

The thing is, the Bruins offense was never as potent as it looked in Games 1 and 2 (12 actual goals versus just 5.8 expected, so more than double what they “should have” scored) but certainly doesn’t deserve to be as anemic as it has been more recently (9 actual versus 11.5 expected). Part of the problem, it seems to me, is that while the Bruins have put up some big shot totals, they’re now getting a relatively smaller percentage of their shots on net, in part because Toronto is doing a pretty good job blocking attempts. Maybe it’s not the best strategy, long-term, to just have everyone laying out and letting the Bruins come to you, but this isn’t a long-term series, so why not?