BOSTON -- After watching his team basically sleepwalk through the first two periods of a 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators that trimmed its lead in the Northeast Division to one point, coach Claude Julien, surprisingly enough, let the Bruins off the hook.
Julien pointed to his team returning from a six-game road trip as a reason for its sluggish, listless performance through the first 40 minutes, when the Bruins were outshot 31-15, and even said he and his coaching staff expected such a performance from the Bruins.
"I think we kind of anticipated it as a coaching staff that it would be a challenge before the game and that was the case,” Julien said. “That happens every time and you wish you had the answers to modify that so it wouldn’t happen, but it does. Those first two periods were really painful to watch and to see, and our guys just didn’t have any legs. Our game was very, very slow, but even faceoffs, we just struggled in all areas.
“Then all of a sudden we redeemed ourselves on faceoffs, our game picked up in the third, found our legs and hopefully that’s a good sign for next game. Certainly, this was a game we would have liked to have won, we knew the importance of these two points, or what they call four-point games. We just couldn’t muster up enough to get that goal.”
The Bruins did show some life in the third period, outshooting Ottawa 17-7, but it wasn't enough.
The players agreed with Julien's take, but still held themselves accountable for the loss and acknowledged that games like this are becoming a pattern that needs to be corrected soon.
“I think our team does a pretty good job at coming back in third periods,” Tyler Seguin said. “It seems like we do that a lot and I think it’s too much. I think we need to be better in the second and first periods and stop kind of waiting until the last minute. Unfortunately sometimes when you start getting better in the last minute, that’s when you run into a hot goalie and that’s what happened tonight.”
As Seguin pointed out, the Bruins need to get back to the little things that make the team successful.
“I think in the end the opportunities we did get, we didn’t bear down,” Seguin said. “I thought we finished the game strong and just at that time ran into a hot goalie. I think for us to be successful we need to do a bit better job at getting pucks deep in our forechecks the whole game and bearing down on the opportunities.”
Patrice Bergeron, Seguin's linemate, concurred.
“The first two periods we were forcing plays and they’re not the type of team that you can do that against,” Bergeron said. “I think if we would have played the same way all game that we did in the third, it would be much better.”
Defenseman Joe Corvo pointed to the Bruins’ power-play struggles as another reason they couldn’t solve Senators goalie Robin Lehner, who made 32 saves for his first career shutout. The Bruins went 0-for-4 on the man advantage, and in a 1-0 game that was a huge factor.
“Normally you shouldn’t lose a 1-0 game,” Corvo said. “I mean, our power play’s got to come through. I think that was the letdown tonight. Yeah, our legs were tired, our legs were heavy. We didn’t look like we had any jump. It’s just an excuse, obviously. Our power play needs to score a goal.”