Frans Nielsen put in the game winning goal and the Bruins found themselves on the wrong end of another overtime loss Thursday, this time at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings.

After grabbing five points of eight and scoring 15 goals in tough matchups with Carolina, St. Louis, Nashville and Philadelphia, Boston looked to have reached a turning point.

The team that was third worst in the league in scoring had finally caught a break needing just two periods to score the first five goals against Philadelphia.

Now the tables have turned and it´s the defense that is struggling, giving four goals to the Islanders before letting five in against the Red Wings.

The B´s got off to a good start as Frank Vatrano and Brandon Carlo combined for three first period goals including one on the power play early in the third. Despite a goal from Dylan Larkin, Patrice Bergeron answered with a power play goal of his own to open a commanding 4-1 lead after one.

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images North America

However, the Bruins allowed the Red Wings to play physical hockey, winning the hits battle 25-17. Despite the Bruins´ killing all four Detroit power plays, the Red Wings found the net three times in the second with goals from Xavier Ouellet, Andreas Athanasiou, and Tomas Tartar.

Adam McQuaid answered back, and the Bruins looked ready to steal the game with a 5-4 lead deep into the second period. However, Gustav Nyquist´s goal sent the game to a shootout.

The standings may make it look like Boston is in line for the second spot in the east, but in reality they have played six more games than the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators and do not control their own destiny. They hover just below .500, having won 23 and dropped points in 25 contests, 19 regulation and six overtime losses.

Inconsistency has been the name of the game this season as the Bruins have only had two three game winning streaks. For the first half, the offense was the problem with Boston ranking third to last in the league in goals scored.

They seem to have figured that out, but defense became the problem on Wednesday as five different Red Wings scored goals. The poor play cannot be put on any one defender because Detroit scored goals against almost all of Boston´s different line combinations.

The top players Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug must receive the blunt of the blame as they spent the most time on the ice during the night. Tuukka Rask allowing five goals on just 25 shots is also a lackluster performance.

The Bruins also have not taken advantage of home ice this season, compiling a 10-11-0 record at TD Garden this season. With eight of the last ten games at home, that must turn around if they are to avoid a finish like last year´s 3-8-1 stretch in the last part of the year.

The Bruins certainly have a lot of ground to make up and they cannot leave it until the last part of the season. Consistency must prevail as they face a tough road ahead with a visit from Chicago before a home and home with Pittsburgh.

Boston must start to string together wins or they will find themselves on the outside looking into the playoffs for the third year in a row. Coach Claude Julien and General Manager Don Sweeney are certainly on the hot seat after the team´s subpar performance in recent years.

About The Author

Patrick English
Soccer/NHL Writer

Patrick English is a soccer and NHL writer for The Sports Blaze, focusing primarily on La Liga and the Premier League. Originally from Richmond, Virginia, Patrick works full time as an English teacher at a secondary school north of Madrid, Spain. He is an avid Boston sports fan, which he inherited from his maternal grandmother, and also follows Liverpool FC and Atletico Madrid. He spends most of his free time playing and watching sports, but also enjoys reading and listening to electronic music. He also has a knack for acquiring nicknames over the years and his favorites are ¨Nick Nack¨, ¨Party City¨ and ¨penglish¨. Follow him on twitter @penglish156 or contact him at patrick.english1007@gmail.com

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