It is a good thing that most people in New England have probably missed at least parts of the Bruins last two games in Anaheim and Thursday in Los Angeles since they have started so late but given fans of the Black and Gold so little to cheer about. It has been ugly to say the least; after losing 5-2 to the Ducks, Boston (28-14-2) once again fell behind 3-0 and they could never come within two goals of the Kings (27-13-5) as they fell 4-2 at the Staples Center. Believe it or not, LA came in 1-5-1 in their last seven games. However, with former UMass star Jonathan Quick (20 saves) back at full speed, you can bet the Kings will be much better in the near future.
Tuukka Rask’s (15 saves) funk continues, for the third time in 10 starts he ended up getting pulled early. Jeff Carter scored on a rebound midway through the first period and then Justin Williams notched a power-play goal 44 seconds into the second. Alec Martinez made it 3-0 1:01 after Williams’ goal and that signaled the end of Rask’s evening. Chad Johnson (16 saves) came in and played well enough to possibly earn a surprise start in San Jose on Saturday.
The Providence Bruins provided both goals for Boston as Matt Fraser finished a 2-on-1 with Carl Soderberg midway through the second period to cut it to 3-1. Dustin Brown put it away late in the third but Justin Florek did get his first career NHL goal so there is that. Things don’t figure to get any easier for the Bruins on Saturday (10:30, NESN) as they visit the Sharks (28-11-6). San Jose is 16-1-3 at the SAP Center, the second best home record in the NHL behind on the Ducks.
What they'll be saying: Especially with the Olympics coming up-where he could be the starter for Finland-it is time that the Bruins eased up on Rask’s workload. Tonight was his 35th start, meaning he’s started 79.5% of Boston’s games this season. If they don’t trust Johnson enough to give him more work, why is he here? They have options with Niklas Svedberg biding his time in Providence.
It was tough for Bruins fans to see this evening but soon we will all be rooting for Quick and Brown as they go for the Gold Medal with Team USA in Russia. When he’s on, Quick is easily one of the top goaltenders in the NHL. The great matchup of him vs. Rask didn’t last for long, Finland and the U.S. are in different groups but perhaps they’ll meet in a knockout game.
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Jordan Caron’s days in Boston could really be numbered. Once again he was a scratch with a back issue but Florek has already proven to be more than an adequate replacement. Shawn Thornton returns from suspension on Saturday so the Bruins will have to make a roster move. With an assist in Anaheim then the goal tonight, Florek has done all he can in three games to remain with the Bruins. In 23 games this season, Caron has one goal and zero assists. He’s been a complete bust and if Boston can get anything for him in return, they should trade him.
Grasping for straws here but the Bruins beat the Sharks 2-1 way back on October 24 at TD Garden. It is going to take a big effort to get any points in San Jose. An 0-3 road trip in California with a very ugly goal-differential (currently -5) is staring Boston right in the face.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate