What we learned in the Bruins' 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes

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Here’s what we learned in the Bruins' 5-3 loss to the Carolina HurriWhale at the PNC Arena on Sunday night in the B’s last game prior to the Christmas break. . .

1)      The Bruins had done a lot of good in the three games prior to Sunday’s game with wins over Montreal, Anaheim and Nashville, but as good as they were in those games they were flat-out bad against the HurriWhale. It looked like there were a number of players that simply didn’t have their legs or their heads in the game, and chief among them was second-year D-man Charlie McAvoy. The 21-year-old D-man was perhaps thinking about celebrating his birthday or his plans for the three-day Christmas break, but he wasn’t focused on the task at hand as he played a big part in each of the first three goals scored against the Bruins. The first was a puck he tried to glove in front of the B’s net, but instead it ricocheted off McAvoy’s glove and then into the open net. The second and third were both plays where McAvoy was manhandled off the puck in his own zone, and they almost immediately turned into goals against the Black and Gold. McAvoy finished a game-worst minus-4 and he was absolutely that bad for the Bruins on Sunday. He gets a bit of a pass because he’d been excellent in the previous three games, but it sure feels like the Bruins need Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller back as soon as possible.

2)      The Bruins seem to have decided they’d rather give Colby Cave a shot rather than Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson right now. The Bruins have liked Cave’s hard work, his attention to detail and his ability to play a competent center in all facets of the game at the NHL level, and are perhaps hoping that a little more of the offense begins to come along for him. They saw a little flash of it on Sunday as Cave carried a puck into the offensive zone with speed and aggression, and got a pass to Ryan Donato in stride as he snapped off a laser beam wrist shot for his second goal of the game. If Cave can continue to build offense into his game as he did on Sunday and as he’s done recently after scoring his first NHL goal, perhaps they’ve found somebody that can help them in a bottom-6 capacity this season.

3)      Sebastian Aho is officially a Bruins killer after scoring another two goals against them on Sunday afternoon while skating around as the best player on the ice for the HurriWhale. Aho now has six goals and 10 points in eight games against the Bruins over the course of his short career and has had a number of notable games against the Black and Gold in a very short period of time. He feels like another Thomas Vanek in the making where he’s going to torment the B’s no matter where he’s playing.

Plus

*Ryan Donato scored a pair of goals and now has four goals since returning from the AHL while giving the Bruins the kind of steady offensive threat they were hoping for him to be from the beginning of the season.

*Sebastian Aho finished with two goals and four points and was the best player on the ice for either team while thoroughly dominating the Bruins with his dogged, aggressive style.

*Steve Kampfer scored a goal for the Bruins and a was a plus player in his 13 plus minutes of ice time, and has been pretty steady for the B’s of late while curbing some of his penalty and decision-making issues this season.

Minus

*Literally, Charlie McAvoy was a minus-4 and was a liability on each of the first three goals allowed to the HurriWhale in the loss. He just wasn’t very good at all.

*They weren’t all Tuukka Rask’s fault, but he did allow five goals on 37 shots and couldn’t make a play in the third period to keep Carolina off the board and allow the B’s any sort of chance at a comeback.

*A minus-3 for David Krejci with very little offensive involvement was a dose of reality after he’d lived the good life centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak recently.  

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