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Feb 14, 2024 4:40 pm

Bruins struggling on homestand entering clash with Kraken

Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins look to return to the winning track when their seven-game homestand continues with a visit from the Seattle Kraken on Thursday night.

Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning moved Boston to 1-2-1 over its past four games, but it marked a return to the way that coach Jim Montgomery wants his team to play.

The team’s captain agrees.

“That was more like our team, for sure. If we play like that every night, we’re going to give ourselves an opportunity to win most games,” Brad Marchand said following his 1,000th career game. “We’ve got to get dialed in a little bit on the power play and be a threat late in the game, but our emotion, energy, work ethic (were) there.”

Charlie McAvoy and James van Riemsdyk scored the Bruins’ goals while David Pastrnak and Marchand had two assists apiece against Tampa Bay, but the ultimate difference in the game proved to be an 0-for-6 showing on the power play. Three of those unsuccessful chances were in the third period.

The Bruins are in the midst of an 0-for-13 drought on the power play that dates back three games. They have scored just one man-up goal in a five-game span.

“When you’re a confident power play, the puck is moving and you’re converging at the net,” Montgomery said. “You need at least three guys inside the dots to be an effective power play for me and how we like to play.”

Montgomery was also encouraged by his team’s shot volume against the Lightning, particularly from defensemen at the point. Boston put 38 shots on goal, surpassing 30 for the first time since Jan. 20.

The Bruins have won three of their four all-time meetings with Seattle, but the lone loss — Jan. 12, 2023 — marked their first of only four home losses during the 2022-23 regular season.

Thursday marks the conclusion of a five-game road trip for Seattle, which will visit Boston following a 2-1 shootout win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday.

The Kraken have not broken the two-goal mark in any of its past four games, though a 26-save effort by Philipp Grubauer got the job done in New York in the second game of a back-to-back.

“It was awesome, the whole night from the whole team (and) the mindset coming in,” Massachusetts native Matty Beniers said following the Tuesday game.

“I don’t think our battle level and compete was there the last two nights and that’s been our identity since the beginning. So, that was the big emphasis.”

The game followed a closed-door meeting discussing the team’s lackluster efforts against the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils.

Some line changes resulted, with Beniers reuniting with both Jared McCann and Jordan Eberle. McCann leads the Kraken with 21 goals this season.

Beniers scored Seattle’s lone goal in regulation and Tomas Tatar tallied before Grubauer made the final save to cap a perfect shootout, lifting Seattle to its first post-All-Star-break victory. Previously, its last was Jan. 28 against Columbus.

“Throughout the entire game, our energy wasn’t based on one play or one goal,” Kraken coach Dave Hakstol said. “Our game got stronger throughout the game. … We’re playing our sixth period in two nights.

“And we were the better team and in the third period we generated, we played the right way all the way through, and competed very hard.”

–Field Level Media

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