Miscues Set Bruins Up for Bounce-Back
BostonBruins.com - Following the Bruins' 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Rangers on Thursday night, defenseman Dougie Hamilton was pretty hard on himself in the locker room postgame, when questioned by reporters on what he had seen on the game-winner from Chris Kreider.
"For me, that last goal is obviously bugging me. That's a play I have to have and I just feel like I let the team down," said Hamilton. "Pretty upset right now."
Kreider's tip off a Rick Nash pass from the right wing was tough to defend - and stop. But still, with the amount of pride the defenseman takes in helping his teammates on the ice, he was left wishing he had found a way to stop the Rangers' forward.
Following the 4-3 loss, there were other Bruins around the locker room, putting the onus on themselves for the defeat.
"Just a tough mistake. Looks pretty bad on TV, I bet," Tuukka Rask had said following his miscue on the New York's first goal, in which he believed his skate may have dug into a skate mark on the ice (happens two times a year, maybe, he said).
The goal gave the Rangers life in the second period, turning it into a hockey game, after the Bruins had dominated in the first and gained a 2-0 lead off two power-play tallies.
"Just sloppy, I think. It kind of freezes you, like 'what the heck happened?' You still have a second to decide whether you're going to try to scramble with the paddle down or just try to whack it away. I just tried to whack it away, and it's just awful."
"You can either cry about our laugh about it. I decided it's better to have a sense of humor, laugh about," Rask said Friday, with a night to mull it over. "Tough break, those happen."
"You've just got to move on."
"It’s things that happen. We know the impact it had. He lets one of those in and how many does he save for us?" said Coach Julien, of Rask. "You kind of balance those things out. It becomes a non-issue."
Only moments before the B's netminder had been shouldering his own brunt of the night, Captain Zdeno Chara was answering questions about New York's second goal that saw Derek Stepan race around the goal and pick the puck off his stick as he was looking to clear. The wraparound goal tied the game.
"Yeah, totally. I wasn't aware he was right behind me. I've got to make sure I take a look," said Chara, on watching video and correcting the miscue moving forward.
"Again, it's a mistake, but as we often say, how many does he repair versus how many does he cost?" Coach Julien had said postgame of his Captain.
Even Tyler Seguin - who found the back of the net for his first goal of the postseason to put the B's up, 3-2 , in the third period - was feeling like he could have been better in the game.
Just 1:54 after Seguin's goal, the Rangers' Brian Boyle tied the game on the power play from the slot. It came after a too many men penalty had been assessed to the Bruins.
"I think it was my fault - I saw Thorty [Shawn Thornton] coming and I hopped over and I think he got hit - I haven't seen the replay," Seguin had said postgame, when asked by a reporter if he knew what had happened on the penalty. "I don't know exactly, the ruling."
"Regardless, I think it was a close call and they made me pay for it."
"We didn't play our best game," said Seguin. "But we're a good team that bounces back. So I'm looking forward to the opportunity to play the next game at home and hopefully finish this off."
Mistakes happen throughout games - more often than not, a player recovers, or another teammate covers for him. It's the mistake that ends up in the back of the net that automatically gets pushed to the forefront. The pace of the game is so quick - and the margin of error so slim.
"I think there’s certain days; I know you’re not always great at your job sometimes, right?" Coach Julien said to a reporter following Friday's skate at TD Garden, when asked about the B's getting the "crispness" back in their game during practice after the mistake-prone loss.
"Same thing with those guys. You try, right? You muscle through. And that’s what we did yesterday. I didn’t think we were good, we were 'okay.' In the playoffs, okay is not enough to win you some hockey games."
"We’ve proven along in this series that we can be good and consistent. We’ve just got to be good and bounce back tomorrow."
The Bruins don't often make it easy on themselves - something they have talked much about, especially after the first round against Toronto - but there is also much talk that accompanies that, about the character of their "bounce-back" nature.
"I think the one thing our guys have been is they’ve done a great job being accountable, and when I say accountable, they’re not afraid to say, ‘Well, I made a mistake,'" said Coach Julien.
"So I don’t think when I say make a mistake - I’m not necessarily talking about Dougie here (on the OT goal) - but anybody that’s made a mistake and created something and goes, ‘I’ve made a mistake,' I don’t think coaches need to harp on it more than that."
"Acknowledging it is certainly a great thing because it means they know what needs to be done and then from your end of it, you make the correction and then you show confidence in them that they’re going to go back and get an opportunity to redeem themselves."
We saw Coach use that method back in April, when Rask had admittedly not had his best game in a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh. “It’s not too often I cost a game, and today I did I think. That’s how it is sometimes for a goalie, and [you’ve] got to move on," the Bruins' goaltender had said.
Consequently, he was put right back between the pipes the next day, his first time playing back-to-back games all season, and shut out the Florida Panthers.
“I just thought that after [Saturday] night, especially, he stood tall and said, ‘listen, I should have had a couple of goals,' I thought it was important for me to put him back in and say, ‘here’s an opportunity to go out and battle back. The quicker the better,'" Coach Julien had said following the shutout.
“He responded well. I texted him right after the game last night and said, ‘you’re back in there tomorrow.’ I was glad to see that he played extremely well and it shows you a lot about his character.”
It's a character trait that is found throughout the team, whether in the netminder, leading goal scorer, or a 19-year-old defenseman. From Coach's perspective, the little details - and big-time plays - every game often outweigh mistakes, or bad bounces, that come the B's way, especially in a seven-game series in which they have the lead.
"We’ve played four games in the series, and then you look at one goal and do you jump all over him for that? or do you give him a pat on the back for everything he’s done so far in the series and us being up 3-1? I think it’s more that," Coach Julien said, of the great job Hamilton has been doing alongside Chara this series.
"I keep saying the same thing again. For us, it’s remaining honest and objective and saying there’s some mistakes made, but also there have been a lot of great things happening. A lot more great things than bad things."
"So right now we’re not in a position - and we don’t want to be in a position - to knock ourselves down more, and we want to rally back tomorrow and play an even better game so that we can win this series."
"And that’s all we’re thinking about right now, not about mistakes and everything else more than what do we need to do here tomorrow and that’s all we talked about today."
Torey Krug may be a newer face around the Bruins - but he understands the concept well.
"Sometimes bounces happen, that's just hockey, that's how it works," said the defenseman. "Not everything is going to go your way all the time. In a seven-game series like this you take those bounces, you turn the page, and you get ready for the next game."