Bruins cough up game down the stretch again, lose to Jets
Third-period meltdowns are quickly becoming a major issue for the Bruins. They led 1-0 against Winnipeg on Tuesday night, but the Jets rallied for two goals then an empty-netter in the third period, giving them a 3-1 win at the MTS Centre. Boston is now 9-4-1 this season when leading after two periods whereas last season they were 32-0-0.
The Bruins (19-6-3) lost another player to injury as defenseman Adam McQuaid left in the first period after running into the boards shoulder first. This is the first time in 2013 that Boston has lost back-to-back games in regulation and their power play was useless (0 for 4) as usual. The final punch in the gut came with former Bruin Blake Wheeler scoring the tying goal on a power play and clinching it with the empty-netter.Winnipeg (16-12-2) avenged a pair of one-goal losses (one in a shootout) to Boston earlier this season. Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec (27 saves) had a good game and the only shot that beat him was the direct result of a fluke bounce. Brad Marchand scored his team-leading 13th goal of the season just eight seconds into the second period after a pass by the Jets went off the boards right to him in front of Pavelec.
Boston dominated for long portions of the contest but without David Krejci (rookie Ryan Spooner centered the first line) and not much from the third line, the Bruins couldn’t find their scoring touch. Tuukka Rask (22 saves; 14-4-3) had no chance on Wheeler’s tip-in but Evander Kane had the game-winner after Rask coughed up a rebound in the crease.
The B’s will look to bounce back Thursday (7:30 p.m., NESN) in Ottawa. With their 5-3 win Tuesday against the Islanders, the Senators (16-8-6) have pulled within three points of the Bruins. Boston could have jumped back into first place in the Northeast Division with a victory since Montreal lost 3-2 vs. Buffalo.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate