You could tell that the Bruins were starting to turn things around after a 4-0-1 homestand, but there were still instances here and there that said they hadn’t quite figured everything out yet.
For those unwilling to believe those occasional lapses were proof that they weren’t quite out of their funk just yet, the Bruins turned in one of their worst showings of the year Friday night in a 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators.
For 19 minutes Friday night in Ottawa, the Bruins looked like world beaters. Loui Eriksson and Brad Marchand scored to give the Bruins a 2-0 before the first period reached its halfway point. It looked like the B’s were going to roll to their 12th straight win in Ottawa and add to Craig Anderson‘s misery when it comes to facing the black and gold.
With less than a minute separating the Bruins from just about a perfect first period, the first of what would be way too many mistakes occurred. Torey Krug tried to do a little too much with the puck coming out of his own zone, and that led to a Chris Neil goal with 50 seconds to play in the first. The Sens clearly used that momentum going forward, as the Neil goal was the first of four unanswered for Ottawa.
“That first goal against really hurt us,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “I thought we had a good first period and played really well and we could have came in with a 2-0 lead and that would have made a big difference. They progressively got better and we progressively got worse.”
The Sens bounced back and played well in what was a pretty balanced (and scoreless) second period, but it was the final frame that they really turned it on. With the Bruins playing their second game in as many nights, Ottawa took advantage of just about every Boston lapse. It was clear that the fatigue was catching up with the Bruins, and that led to poor decision making as well.
The Senators made the Bruins pay for all of it with three third-period goals, each of which came off of some sort of Bruins mistake. The B’s lost track of Jason Spezza (bad idea) when he scored 1:32 into the third to tie the game. An inability to clear the zone led to Jared Cowen‘s go-ahead goal. And then Bobby Ryan absolutely undressed Reilly Smith, picking the Bruins forward’s pocket to give Ottawa the insurance goal.
Those are just a few of the mistakes, though. The Bruins weren’t especially sharp particularly in the third period. The breakouts were simply awful, as the B’s had all kinds of trouble getting the puck out of their own zone. It should probably go without saying that if you can’t clear your own zone and get transition going the other way, you’re going to struggle to score goals. The Senators used their fresh legs — not to mention the motivation of coming off a 5-0 loss to the Flyers — to really put the pressure on with the forecheck. While the Sens deserve credit for that, this was more about what the Bruins weren’t able to do rather than what the Sens were able to do.
“In the third period, the goals that we gave them, some bad mistakes,” Julien added. “We have to learn to in these kind of games playing back-to-back, you’ve got to manage the clock and manage the situation. The last not just goal in the first but even in the second period late we were turning pucks over at the blue line when we should be getting those deep. We’ve gotta be better with that. It’s always a chore but we’ve gotta push ourselves to make some better decisions.”
The Bruins are in a better position now than they were a week or so ago when they had lost four of five. However, they proved Friday night that they’re certainly still not where they want — or need — to be.