BOSTON — Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stood in front of his stall in the locker room Thursday night and said what was probably on the minds of all the Bruins after their 3-2 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues.
Rask said something in Finnish, presumably a word not suitable for printing here, before finally getting to the heart of the matter.
“I mean, it sucks. It just sucks.”
Such is life in the NHL when you come up on the short end of the stick in the shootout.
The Bruins gave arguably their best 60-minute effort of the season on Thursday against one of the league’s best teams. They then turned in another solid five minutes of 4-on-4 overtime. Playing with a host of young defensemen — with two injured veterans watching from the press box — the B’s gave the Blues all they could ask for … only to see it turn into a loss in the shootout.
Boston will certainly take the point, a hard-earned one at that, but that alone won’t immediately ease the sting any. It’s almost ironic for a team like the Bruins, who had been winning despite uneven efforts pretty much all season, saw their first real “60-minute effort” turn into a “loss.”
“Right now, you come out of there more or less feeling like you lost a game,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “In my mind, we played well enough to win. So those are tough, whatever if you wanna call it a loss, to take because I thought we deserved a lot better.”
Crummy feeling aside, though, the Bruins certainly had plenty to feel good about after the shootout setback. The B’s were playing their third game in four nights in a third city, and they were doing so without veteran defensemen Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid. Not only that, they were going up against a Blues team that is loaded with offensive talent that ranks third in the NHL in goals per game.
“To be honest, I thought everyone stepped up and played their game,” B’s center Patrice Bergeron said. “They didn’t try to do more than they were supposed to, and it showed. They were making the quick first pass, and we were out of our zone quickly. I thought the forwards helped out with the back pressure, and I thought we did a good job.”
The Bruins certainly sounded like they used the matchup with the Blues as some sort of measuring stick. It was arguably their toughest test of the season, and as they’re usually known to do, the B’s raised their level of play — perhaps to previously unseen heights this season — for this one.
“Yeah I think a lot of times we’re the team that people are trying to scale their game at and tonight it was kind of the tables were turned,” forward Chris Kelly said. “We know how well they’ve been playing and we wanted to come out and show what we had. I thought we did that.”
The biggest reason the loss “sucks” so bad, of course, is because of what the scoreboard says and the fact that the Bruins get one point while the Blues get two. But sometimes over the course of a long season, the emphasis should be placed more on the process than the product, or in this case, the result.
The Bruins were as good as they have been all season Thursday, and that’s something they can build on moving forward — shootout be damned.
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