Leading 3-2 midway through the third period Friday night, the Bruins looked set to tie up this series. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay rallied to win 4-3 in OT. Against the deafening boo’s at TD, they now face a 3-1 series deficit. While this series has been close, Bruce Cassidy and his merry men will need to put on their comeback hats. Boston has some sheer class on the ice, but they also went all in at the trade deadline. February 20 to 26 was a productive time, but has it all paid off?
Trade Deadline Recap
Rick Nash was the big name on everyone’s lips. The Bruins got their man from the Rangers in exchange for Ryan Spooner, Ryan Lindgren, Matt Beleskey and 2018 and 2019 first round picks. A tough, physical first line forward, this looked like good business. Nick Holden has also been traded to Boston from the Rangers, which added depth to the blue line. Consistent 2nd/3rd liner Tommy Wingels also found himself traded to TD Garden from the struggling Blackhawks.
Boston’s intent was crystal clear. They wanted another one of Lord Stanley’s banners hanging from the rafters. So far, the big names on the Bruins roster haven’t disappointed. David Pasternak has been a thorn in the side of any defence. His 20 points leave him only 1 point behind Jake Guentzel for the points lead. The much loved/hated Brad Marchand has been tearing up the ice with 17. Rounding out the major three players is Patrice Bergeron with 15, proving he’s still a threat even at 32.
Now here’s a test for you eagle-eyed readers. Can you spot the name Nash anywhere? Well, that’s because he’s only scored a mere 5 points throughout the playoffs. The Bruins brought this guy in to pose a threat and it doesn’t seem like he’s doing his job. Nash for sure is adding spice, but the overall flavour seems to have weakened. Normally a consistent big name performer, this time he’s firmly in the shadow of his free-scoring peers.
On the ice, this guy still has a presence and he has made some busting hits during the first two rounds. Boston didn’t bring Nash to play a checking role, he was brought here to bring offense. A free agent for the first time his career this summer- Nash isn’t making a case for the Bruins to give him a big payday. They have gambled big on this trade, now it just looks like they have squandered a pair of useful picks.
However, Nash is not the only big name player to struggle. David Backes and man mountain Zdeno Chara have only 3 points to their name. Then again, when you are up against big scorers like Marchand and Bergeron, not everyone gets the numbers they want.
Tommy Wingels spent game 4 watching from the stands. This has been a recurring theme during this postseason as he has only appeared 4 times. Usually, a consistent 3rd/4th line player, Wingels has struggled mightily in Boston. Nick Holden, along with fellow acquired vet Brian Gionta,has a solitary appearance to his name. Then again, Holden must have known he was there to prop up the depth chart. Holden will have the opportunity to justify his acquisition as he returns to the lineup, replacing the injured Torey Krug.
Torey Krug has been ruled out for Game 5. Nick Holden replaces him in the #bruins lineup.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) May 5, 2018
Unless the Bruins pull their socks up quickly tomorrow night in Tampa, they are going to hitting the golf course soon. Right now, I wouldn’t count out a comeback because this team has only narrowly been defeated so far. Should they fail to progress, I wouldn’t say it’s down to their trade decisions. Don Sweeney like any GM put up a big hand to get his team in the game. Sometimes, the other team just has better cards on their side.
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