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Sloppy play costs Bruins chance to end series

By John McGourty - NHL.com Staff Writer

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Sloppy play costs Bruins chance to end series
The Bruins missed out on a second straight chance to close out the Flyers by taking too many penalties and not paying enough attention to detail in Monday's 4-0 loss on home ice.
BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins appeared as stunned in their dressing room after the game as they had on home ice during their 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday. The Bruins now lead the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Semifinal series, 3-2, with Game 6 Wednesday in Philadelphia (8 p.m., Versus, TSN, NESN, CSN-Philadelphia).

"I don’t know if we were maybe a little bit nervous," captain Zdeno Chara said. "It’s hard to explain and really find words for it. We didn’t play with the composure we were playing with. Obviously we took way too many unnecessary penalties and spent a lot of time in the box and killing penalties."

There were many elements to the Bruins' defeat: a lack of energy at the start that led to the Flyers scoring the first goal at 6:41 of the first period; their failure to get shots, let alone goals, on relief goalie Michael Leighton after Brian Boucher was injured at 4:31 of the second period; the nine power plays they gave the Flyers; and the lack of offensive contributions from the defense.

"We just weren’t playing well and they deserved to get the lead, so we didn’t come out good," Bruins right wing Mark Recchi said. "We didn’t come out well at all. They did, and they deserved to get the lead and we were fighting an uphill battle after that.

"You know, they’ve made a few adjustments and they’ve done some good things and bottom line is they’ve played a lot more desperate than we have, especially tonight. I mean, last game not so much, but tonight, they were the better team and you got to give them credit. Now we have to go to their building and play the same type of game."

One of the Flyers' adjustments has taken the Bruins' defense out of the offense. The six Boston defenseman combined for two shots on net, one by Dennis Wideman and another by Andrew Ference. For the second-straight game, Chara failed to get a shot on net. Matt Hunwick and Mark Stuart also had no shots in the two defeats.
 
"Maybe that comes from our group of forwards too, from not creating turnovers and stuff like that, so it’s not just their fault back there," center Marc Savard said. "We have to get in and get them the puck. We just have to look to have big games from everybody in here. Everybody has to go in and do their job, we can’t worry about other guys’ jobs. You just have to go in there and do yours and we should be fine here."

"They’re certainly getting on our D quickly," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "I think they’re respecting the fact that we got some quality shots there early in the series and they’ve taken that away from us. So obviously that’s something we’re going to have to look at and try and figure out a way to get some shots through.

"Again tonight, the shots were definitely down from previous games and a lot of that was probably our lack of competitiveness. I thought we lost battles from start to finish and they were the hungrier team tonight. When that happens, you get those kinds of results."

Boucher made nine saves before his defenseman, Ryan Parent, fell on top of him, forcing him out of the game. Leighton came in and made 14 saves for the first Stanley Cup Playoff combined shutout by two goalies since Jacques Plante and Charlie Hodge beat the Bruins on March 22, 1955.

"You know, they’ve made a few adjustments and they’ve done some good things and bottom line is they’ve played a lot more desperate than we have, especially tonight. I mean, last game not so much, but tonight, they were the better team and you got to give them credit. Now we have to go to their building and play the same type of game."
-- Mark Recchi

Danny Briere took a cross-checking penalty 39 seconds after Leighton entered the game, giving the Bruins a power-play chance against the goalie who hadn't played since March 16. The Bruins failed to get a shot on net.

"That was a huge disappointment," Savard said. "Especially when he comes in with 15 minutes left [in the second period] and maybe one or two shots in that period. So that’s obviously terrible."

"We definitely would have liked to have tested him a lot more," Julien said. "I think it was pretty clear that we wanted to get some shots on him. That didn’t happen. That’s part of the game that we’re talking about. If you’re not winning the battles for the puck, you’re not playing with it. And we didn’t create that many shots. When you’re being outworked, you get frustrated and you take penalties like you saw us do tonight."

The Bruins took the kind of penalties that reflect frustration: cross-checking, boarding, high-sticking, roughing and slashing. They were fortunate to allow only one goal in nine Flyers' power plays.

"We’re taking penalties because we weren’t on top of our game," Recchi said. "We didn’t play well and they did and you know, you’re going to get in trouble if you’re not skating and you’re not on your toes, and we paid for it tonight. You know, our penalty kill still did a great job tonight. It’s just five-on-five, we weren’t desperate enough."

The Bruins know it's not over. They still lead the series and will have their third whack at eliminating the Flyers on Wednesday.

"I think we definitely thought we were going to be a better team than that tonight," Julien said. "We didn’t respond. Sports are sports and some nights you think you’re ready and then you’re not. I didn’t think we had great jump. I didn’t think we had great battle, from start to finish.

"So we talk about winning hockey games here in the playoffs and turning the page and focusing on the next one. We have to take that same approach with a loss. We've got to understand what we did wrong, we have to rectify that and make sure we’re ready next game. We got to move on here, and that’s what we got to do -- get prepared and get ready for the next game."

Quote of the Day

Obviously a lot happened in a short period of time. At the end of the day, considering everything I went through, I really felt close to my teammates and I really feel like what we accomplished, I know we didn't win it all. ... I'm really proud of how we got there and what we did once we got there.

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis to Jim Cerny of BlueshirtsUnited.com