Bruins Let One Get Away
OTTAWA, ON - The Bruins had control. Halfway through the first period at Canadian Tire Centre on Friday night, they had a 2-0 lead off goals from Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand, and Matt Barktowski had himself the first multi-point game of his NHL career with a pair of assists.
It was trending in the direction of the Spoked-B's 11th straight win in Ottawa, with not too much for those clad in red to roar about.
But four straight tallies from the Senators, including a three-goal third period, handed the B's their first regulation loss in six games and snapped their four game winning streak.
So, did Head Coach Claude Julien see an ending like that coming?
"Not really. I liked our first period and we came out the way we wanted to come out," he said postgame. The Bruins started the game outshooting the Senators 11-3 at one point before finishing the first with 13 shots to their 6 and a 2-1 lead.
"It was important to have a great start, and we did."
"Our first part of the second period was still okay; I thought we were in control of the game. But progressively they got better and progressively, we got worse. And you could see that in the third period, we fell apart."
Boston has outscored its opposition 20-9 in the third period to start the 2013-14 campaign. They're a team that closes it out.
"We didn’t stick to our game plan," said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. "We stopped playing the way we did in our first that made us successful and that’s what happens."
"They kept getting stronger the longer the game went on and we didn’t respond. That’s what it was."
"Yeah I would have done something differently. Not a good play. Time and score, last minute of the first period we have a two-nothing lead and poor turnover ends up in the back of our net so it’s something I definitely would go another way with," said Krug.
"When you give up a goal there in the last minute it’s not a good thing," his coach agreed. "So it’s a young player that needs to learn to manage the clock better. So he made a mistake but then we talked about it, we needed to move on."
The B's did move on, and held the upper hand. With Marchand and Eriksson netted the game's goals in the first, the line together with Patrice Bergeron supported each other breaking into the zone and kept creating chances for themselves off the rush.
But a Senators' goal just 1:32 into the third tied it up at 2-2 and the game began shift in Ottawa's favor.
Rask committed to Erik Karlsson's shot, and the Sens defensman opted for the slap pass to Jason Spezza down near the goal line, all alone.
"That’s one of those days when you’re not on top of your game, you don’t even know he’s there; and I didn’t know he was there. I stretched myself there but I couldn’t get my pad on it," said Rask.
But there was also lost coverage down low, and a lack of awareness that stretched into the rest of the period.
"They were jumping us everywhere; it just seemed like they were working a little bit harder than we were, a little more determination and that can go a long way," said Marchand. "They made a few nice plays and a few sloppy ones by us. That’s how it goes sometimes."
The Bruins nearly took a 3-2 at 5:05 into the third, with Carl Soderberg pushing a puck through Craig Anderson in the blue paint. The play was reviewed but called as no goal, due to the whistle blowing the play dead. Just 37 seconds later, Jared Cowen beat Rask from long-range.
"I didn’t see that. It went through, so that’s my bad," said Rask, always one to be hard on himself after an outing like the B's endured in Ottawa.
"I always look at those as my fault that it goes through me, despite the screen, it still happened."
Bobby Ryan capped off the Senators' win at 10:11 into the third, when he picked the puck off Reilly Smith's stick inside the blueline and quickly put it past Rask.
"They didn’t get too many shots in the first two and that’s my nightmare as everyone knows. You don’t feel like you’re in the game and then they start peppering you," said the netminder.
The Sens threw 18 shots towards Rask in the third, compared to only 13 through the first 40 minutes.
"I feel like, every once in a blue moon as a goalie you get one of those games where you feel like there’s a soccer net behind you."
"And [this] was one of those games, but still, I don’t think we played a really good third period as a team but then again, I would like to make a couple of saves there, keep the game tied."
"I know it was maybe a couple tough ones there on Tuukka going through him and that’s uncharacteristic of him, but he’s given us such good games and been so good for us," said Julien.
The goaltender had only allowed two goals in his last three starts. It marked the first game all season that Boston had allowed four even-strength goals.
"We probably could have been better in front of him, so certainly not going to point fingers there. It was kind of a team collapse I thought at the end."
It wasn't surprising that Rask was so hard on himself following the loss. It also wasn't surprising when Seidenberg was quick to reflect the team's sentiment on doing the work in front of him.
"No, we have to be better for him," said the blueliner. "What are you going to do about a backdoor pass? What are you going to do about tough shots? We have to make it easier for him and that’s on us."
Being a characteristically sharp, "keep it simple" type of road team at both ends, the Bruins' loss in Ottawa marked their first since April 7, 2009.
"So, one of those games, I don’t remember the last time we lost in this building, so it was bound to happen and it’s unfortunate because I thought for the first half we had control and had a good chance of winning," said Julien.
Boston will get a chance to put their third period quickly to the waste side with another back-to-back on Monday in Raleigh and Tuesday in New York against the Rangers.
"We just have to be stronger," said Seidenberg. "We are an experienced team in those situations and we have to bring it home."
Krug and the Bruins will make the adjustments and then quickly implement the "move on" approach.
"It’s one that we want back and now we have to learn from it, look at it and then forget about it."