By Matt Noonan
BOSTON, MA – What exactly went right for the Bruins on a Saturday at the TD Garden? Was it the fact they showed up to play just 60 minutes of hockey? Did a majority of the players continue to embrace the excitement from Thursday’s beat down against Montreal? All in all, what were the true highs for the Bruins?
In all honesty, not a whole lot, as the Bruins watched yet another two-game winning streak come to an end, as the New York Rangers escaped with a 1-0 victory.
“It took us a while to get going. I thought the other team played a solid game. They were strong on the puck, they were solid, they’re gritty and we were a little light on our sticks for the first forty minutes and that kind of put us obviously in a bad situation,” said Bruins head coach Claude Julien.
New York may or may not have been solid for the entire game, but after an early tangle between Gregory Campbell and Sean Avery, which resulted in a five-minute penalty for both squads, the Bruins immediately lost any sort of energy and simply played uninspiring hockey.
Although, roughly four minutes after an exciting brawl, Michael Sauer whipped the puck toward Boston’s net, which resulted in a Derek Stepan goal due to the puck ricocheting off his stick.
It was the only goal that would occur throughout the game, but it obviously was the difference maker in deciding who would win or lose.
“I didn’t see the play before, but no matter what, he made a good tip,” said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
The Rangers goal was somewhat controversial, as fans, media members and Julien all believed that New York had a player who was clearly offside during the play, but either way, it seemed that the Boston players and coaching staff decided to let it go.
“It’s unfortunate that the only goal that was scored maybe a little bit of controversial goal, but we had lots of opportunities to make up for it,” said Julien.
After the goal was recorded, the game was practically over. Boston showed little to no effort on offense and played incredibly sloppy. Yes, the offense did shot the puck on net, 23 times to be exact, but other than firing shots on New York’s Henrik Lundqvist, they had nothing else to celebrate.
“I think we didn’t get pucks in deep and we didn’t get our feet going early enough and that’s where we had success last couple [of] games,” said Julien.
“Even at the end when we were firing away late in the third they were all collapsing, they were doing whatever they had to do to block shots and they were willing to pay the price.”
At times, it seemed as if the Bruins were going to score, both during the second and third period, but New York’s defense didn’t even allow Boston to become comfortable in their zone, as they denied any goal scoring opportunity.
Yet, besides the horrific play of the Bruins offense, Boston at least had something positive to acknowledge, which was Rask’s exceptional play, but even the goaltender knew that this loss was frustrating.
“It’s disappointing to lose obviously, but I thought we put up a pretty good effort,” said Rask. “We definitely came out hard in the third [period] and got our chances, battled hard, but a 1-0 loss is always tough to take when you don’t score a goal after you score seven.”
Besides all the frustration, aggravation and tension, which came out of this game, Boston is still a team that is inconsistent, but also, a squad that seems to have trouble rebounding after emotional wins. Although, with only eight games remaining in the regular season and still, a Northeast division up for grabs, the Bruins will need to regroup quickly, as they travel to Philadelphia on Sunday to face the best team in the Eastern Conference.
Boston needs to regroup and get ready for the playoffs because otherwise, they won’t advance if they play the way they did against New York.
“Let’s turn the page on this one here and hopefully be a better team tomorrow,” said Julien.