Disappointment in Detroit, But Short-Lived for Bruins
DETROIT - For the first time in 32 days, the Bruins suffered a regulation loss.
Falling to the Red Wings 3-2 at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday night, it marked just their third loss since March 1. Boston is 15-2-1 in that span, but still, a loss is a loss.
"We don’t want to lose games," said Tuukka Rask.
"It doesn't matter what it is. It doesn’t matter if you win 20 in a row, a loss is a loss. Especially when you lose in the third period. But we've got a new one [Thursday], so got to get over this."
The Black & Gold outshot Detroit 35-20 in the game, and 25-11 after the first 40 minutes. But as the Wings can often do, they capitalized on opportunities.
Following a scoreless first period, Johnny Boychuk blasted in his fourth of the season to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead. A power-play fire from Torey Krug had just been immediately waved off, with Zdeno Chara pushed into Detroit netminder Jimmy Howard's stick.
The game went to the third tied at 1-1, when the Red Wings scored just as their power play expired. Carl Soderberg gave the Bruins the 2-1 lead in the final frame, putting home his 16th of the season after a no-look feed from Patrice Bergeron on the man advantage, but two strikes by Detroit gave them momentum in the final 10 minutes.
With a player pile-up in front of Rask, and a loose puck that ended up being on top of Andrej Meszaros' pants before being located, Tomas Jurco finally found the loose rebound and fired it in at 11:06 into the third.
Then, just 1:42 later, Boston allowed Gustav Nyquist just enough space during a line change to pick up speed on a near breakaway and use his hot hands to send a hard shot in close past Rask.
"I think we let our guard down a little bit in the second half of the third and we made some poor decisions and they capitalized on them," said Julien.
"We had lots of chances with this game and for the most part, I thought we probably deserved the win but the goaltender played well, made big saves when he had to and like I said, we shot ourselves in the foot there with some of those goals we gave up."
"Bad mistakes on our part, bad decisions, and they’re a team that usually makes you pay for those."
Howard finished with 33 saves on 35 shots. The Bruins' attempted 56 shots on goal, while the Wings ended the night with 29 attempts.
"Especially in the third, I think when we scored that goal they got more desperate. We knew they were in the hunt for that spot there in the playoffs and they’re gonna be a desperate team," said Rask.
"I thought for the first two periods we played pretty great hockey and then some goals end up costing us."
When the Black & Gold looked at their collective game, and their first regulation loss in a month, they still liked the effort through most of the game.
"You know, you can’t dwell on a couple mistakes that ended up in our net here. You look at the whole game and our team, like I said, I thought we played pretty well," said Julien.
After a shootout loss to Montreal back on March 24 that snapped their 12-game winning streak, the B's bench boss had cautioned that just because of one loss, amidst their strong stretch, he wasn't going to be disappointed in his team.
The same even-keeled approach was taken following the defeat by Detroit.
"You kind of look at correcting those kind of things, and the focus has to be for 60 minutes not 50, and I think that’s basically what I saw in our team," said Julien. "[The Wings] took advantage of the opportunities that they had."
The Bruins played the game without Jarome Iginla, who was a late scratch after taking part in the pregame skate on Wednesday morning. He was deemed "day-to-day" with a minor lower-body injury that he could have played through, if it was the postseason.
It didn't change the Bruins' approach, though. Jordan Caron slid into the lineupand Loui Eriksson filled on the right wing, alongside David Krejci and Milan Lucic. Caron took Eriksson's spot for the game, skating with Chris Kelly and Carl Soderberg.
"We wanted to come out with two points and we didn’t. In the third we had some mistakes that we can’t do in the playoffs obviously and we just got to learn from our mistakes," said Caron.
When the Bruins had a 2-1 lead after Soderberg's power-play goal, it looked like they would build momentum, but their usual third period killer instinct didn't end up on the winning end.
"We've got to take care of the puck, get the puck out, put the puck deep when it’s time to, so I think it’s just a matter of turning it around [on Thursday] - it's mistakes that are easy to adjust if we play smart and if we keep playing the way we’ve been playing," said Bergeron, who had a brief scare after getting knocked in the leg just before assisting on Soderberg's tally.
"I'm fine, just took a few seconds to feel better then it was good," he said. "You've got to keep playing. When you play with some intensity, you don’t think about that…you take care of yourself and rest, so that’s all I've got to keep doing."
With just six games remaining in the season, beginning with the Maple Leafs on Thursday night, that's all the entire team will keep doing.
"I mean we’re disappointed obviously, but we have to put it behind us and worry about Toronto," said Boychuk. "They’re fighting for a playoff spot and they’re not going to back down, especially to us, and we know that so it’s going to be a tough game and we know that we have to be prepared."