It’s hard to string together wins when you can’t close teams out. And the Bruins have been among the NHL’s worst in 2015-16 when it comes to finishing the job.
Of the 42 games the Bruins have played this season, they’ve entered the final 20 minutes of regulation with a lead in 19 of them. The B’s have failed to emerge with multiple points in four of those games, an NHL-high.
The issue has come to light in the B’s last two games, losses to the Rangers and Flyers, costly setbacks that have dropped Boston to 1-2-1 going into the final game of what could be a pivotal five-game road trip, on Friday night in Buffalo.
The Bruins lost, 2-1, on Monday night to the Rangers after taking a 1-0 lead to the room after two periods. The Blueshirts got goals from Derick Brassard and Jesper Fast in the third to lift the Rangers, who are no comeback kids by any stretch. New York entered the game 0-11-2 when trailing after two.
On Wednesday, the B’s took a 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes, hoping to avenge the result by closing out the Flyers, who despite allowing more goals than they’ve scored in the final 20 minutes this season, had three wins when trailing after two. Boston, of course, had no such luck, allowing a pair of goals in a span of 1:22. Mark Streit scored what would be the winning goal with 8:28 remaining in the game, which Philadelphia won, 3-2.
The Bruins .737 winning percentage (14-4-1) when leading after two periods is 27th in the NHL, ahead of only St. Louis (.706), Detroit (.667), and Vancouver (.600). However, all three teams beneath the Bruins in the category have emerged pointless just once, as opposed to the Bruins four.
Only one other team (Colorado) joins the Bruins with three losses. Just seven teams in the league have more than one loss when leading after two periods.
The Bruins could get a chance to right things on Friday night against the Sabres, who have gone into the third in 24 of their 45 games this season trailing. That said, Buffalo has rallied to win in the final 20 in four of those games, its .167 winning percentage when trailing after two tied for 10th in the league. Only Washington and Los Angeles (five apiece) have more wins when trailing after two than the Sabres.