Tuesday, January 09, 2007

3rd Period Blues

I'll give the Boston Bruins credit. With tonight's loss in Ottawa, in a game where they led 2-0 going into the 3rd period, they officially made me curious. And the question they had me pondering was this..."are they really that bad when leading after 2 periods or does it just feel that way?" Because, even when they've held on to win, it feels like they're getting killed in the 3rd lately. So I looked it up. And here are the results:

2006-07 Boston Bruins Game Log when leading after 2 periods

Game 1 (Oct. 12 @ St. Louis) Led 1-0 after 2. Scored early in the 3rd to go up 2-0. Gave up two late goals and lost in a shootout. (Lost the 3rd, 2-1)

Game 2 (Oct. 19 vs. Calgary) Led 3-1 after 2. Won 3-2. (Lost the 3rd, 1-0)

Game 3 (Nov. 2 vs. Buffalo) Led 3-1 after 2. Scored early in the 3rd to go up 4-1. Gave up 3 late ones and lost in a shootout. (Lost the 3rd, 3-1)

Game 4 (Nov. 11 vs. Ottawa) Led 3-2 after 2. Ottawa tied it but Boston won it 4-3 on a Bergeron goal. (Tied the 3rd, 1-1)

Game 5 (Nov. 16 vs. Toronto) Led 1-0 after 2. Toronto tied in the 3rd but the B's won in OT. (Lost the 3rd, 1-0)

Game 6 (Nov. 22 @ Pittsburgh) Led 3-1 after 2. Pittsburgh scored twice in the 3rd, including a tying goal with :30 seconds to go, to send it to OT. Bruins ultimately won in a shootout. (Lost the 3rd, 2-0)

Game 7 (Nov. 25 @ Toronto) Led 2-0 after 2. Traded goals in the 3rd and won 3-1. (Tied the 3rd, 1-1)

Game 8 (Dec. 19 @ Ottawa) Led 5-1 going into the 3rd and won 7-2. (Won the 3rd, 2-1)

Game 9 (Dec. 21 vs. Vancouver) Led 2-0 after 2. Outshot 14-0 in the 3rd but held on for the shutout. (Tied the 3rd, 0-0)

Game 10 (Dec. 26 @ Columbus) Led 4-3 after 2. Gave up the tying goal with 23 seconds left and lost 5-4 in OT. (Lost the 3rd, 1-0)

Game 11 (Dec. 29 @ Chicago) Led 4-0 after 2. Gave up 3 goals in less than 6 minutes to start the 3rd and were lucky to get out of there with a 5-3 win after a huge save from Thomas and a late empty-netter. (Lost the 3rd, 3-1)

Game 12 (Jan. 6 vs. Philadelphia) Led 3-2 after 2. Went up 4-2 early in the 3rd and won 4-3. (Tied the 3rd, 1-1)

Game 13 (Jan. 9 @ Ottawa) Led 2-0 after 2. Lost 5-2. (Lost the 3rd, 5-0)

So that's 13 3rd period leads so far. Let's look at some stats from that baker's dozen.

Game Results
Regulation wins: 7
Regulation losses: 1
OT wins: 1
OT losses: 1
Shootout wins: 1
Shootout losses: 2

(7 regulation wins out of 13? Not so good. While they did recover 2 of those games in OT or a shootout, that essentially boils down to a loss of 8 points in the standings.)

3rd Period Winner
Bruins: 1
Opponents: 8
Tie: 4

(Pretty much speaks for itself. Only one time in 13 did the Bruins win the 3rd period.)

Total Goals
Bruins: 8
Opponents: 22

(Care to guess how many times have they held a team scoreless in the 3rd when entering with the lead? Try once. And that was the Vancouver game were they were outshot 14-0.)

Getting badly outshot isn't exactly a fluke either. Check out the shot totals against and for in those games:


They were outshot in 10 of those 13 periods. And most of them weren't even close.

So I guess that sums it up. Are the Bruins really that bad with a lead? Yeah, pretty much. At least so far. I'm not entirely sure why they're so bad, although I have my theories. A lot of youth. Some shaky coaching. A starting goalie that, at least in my mind, isn't as good as he's made out to be at times. Regardless, it's been discouraging to watch.

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