BOSTON — Through two periods Wednesday night, the Bruins appeared to have a bead on their third consecutive victory. Then, it all fell apart.
The downslide began when Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason robbed David Pastrnak of a third-period goal that would have all but put the game away. From then on, it was all Philly. The Flyers rallied two goals over the final 13 minutes of regulation and scored another 2:09 into overtime to lock down a 5-4 win at TD Garden.
It was not the effort head coach Claude Julien was looking for following his team’s successful Western Conference road trip, and he did not mince words when offering his postgame critique.
“Well, I think a lot of it is that we played a light game (Wednesday night),” Julien said. “A lot lighter than them, and they certainly were better in the battles than we were, and they were certainly better at getting back to a scoring position than we were preventing them from getting there. We had too many guys with light sticks, too many guys playing a light game, and that’s not the way we’re going to have some success. So, it’s unacceptable, and what happened (Wednesday), I think we probably deserved. They were the hungrier team, and we didn’t respond well. Too many light guys.”
Although Boston scored four of the game’s first six goals and took a two-goal lead into the third period, Julien saw flaws in his team’s game throughout the night.
“I thought the last couple of games, I saw some optimistic things happening, and we needed to bring that (Wednesday night),” Julien said. “But right from the get-go, I didn’t find that our feet were moving as well as we had the last couple of games. (Tuesday), we had a great practice. Guys had some good jump. And (against the Flyers), for some reason, we didn’t seem to be skating the way we can, and we certainly didn’t battle the way we can. So, hopefully, lesson learned for our hockey club.”
Some additional notes to digest as the Bruins prep for their first visit to Brooklyn this Friday:
— Save for his third-period scoring chance, Pastrnak endured one of his roughest outings of the season. The 19-year-old winger committed a costly turnover that led to a Flyers goal, registered just two shots on goal and was the only top-six forward not to see a second of power-play time.
Julien was particularly critical when asked about the youngster’s performance.
“It’s about respecting the game, more than just scoring goals, and there’s a learning curve there,” the coach said. “There’s also a respect factor there that, you’ve got to understand that there’s more to the game than just trying to be flashy. He had a tough night. You’re going to see him get some better nights down the road, but he’s certainly not a single guy to point out. We were bad as a team, and a lot of guys would just go into battle and take a swing at the puck and curl the other way. And again, that’s not the way we play, and it’s not the way we’re going to accept players to play on our team.”
— Brett Connolly scored his first goal in a Bruins uniform, snapping a streak of nine straight games without one dating back to last season.
“(It was a relief), for sure,” the 23-year-old winger said. “Got a lot of chances in the first four games, and it’s a matter of sticking with it now and kind of riding the wave a little bit. I think that one maybe made up for the chances I wasn’t able to finish earlier, but it was very nice to see that one go in.”
Connolly was a healthy scratch for Saturday’s win in Arizona but returned to the lineup Wednesday when Matt Beleskey (upper body injury) was ruled out.
— With two assists against Philadelphia, David Krejci became the first Bruins player to record a point in each of his team’s first six games since Nathan Horton did so to begin the 2010-11 season. Krejci’s 11 points lead all NHL scorers.
— Wednesday was “Hockey Fights Cancer” night at the Garden, with the Bruins commemorating the occasion by sporting lavender warmup sweaters and helmet decals.
The team also brought out a special guest to drop the ceremonial first puck: 5-year-old Bruins fan Max Mitchell, who suffers from Ewing sarcoma.
Click here to learn more about Max’s story.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Boston Bruins center David Krejci during a game against Philadelphia.