- The Bruins got their 2-0 lead again tonight in the first period, and this time, alternate captain Patrice Bergeron
made sure they held on, getting the second goal of the game and then sealing the 4-1 win over Florida with an empty-netter.
But, as we've seen at times this season, No. 37 and his teammates in Black & Gold were not satisfied with their performance that saw them sit back again in the second period and give up their first shorthanded goal of the season.
Despite not playing their best game, a look at the standings sees the B's with an 18-4-3 record, with only four regulation losses through 25 games.
Still, Bergeron, who was clearly not happy with his team's performance last game in Pittsburgh, was very strong on his words when asked about their winning record.
"You’re right. But it’s a short season," said Bergeron, quickly deflecting the any sort of satisfaction. "We’ve talked about consistency being a big key this year, so we’re trying to not slip too much. It’s about righting the ship right away, and I think we’re doing that right now."
"But we know we’ve got to be better."
When a reporter asked if Bergeron would describe it as an "ugly win," the center responded, "I think that's it. I think that could be the line for tonight."
Though the Bruins have 39 points on the season, the points have been hard-fought, with the tag line "finding ways to win" carrying the spoked-B for much of the first half.
"I mean obviously it seems we’re not necessarily playing our best hockey right now," said the alternate captain. "Tonight was a big two points, I guess. We’ll take it. We’ve got to be much better."
"I thought we talked about it after the second period and came back a little better in the third, but like I said, we’re obviously not satisfied, but obviously it’s that time of the year. We’ll take the two points. It’s a big two points, but we realize that we need to up our game a bit."
The B's didn't make it easy on themselves, falling flat in the second after getting the two-goal lead, but were able to find the energy in the third - something they couldn't seem to find in Pittsburgh - and relied on their grinders to pick up the forecheck, with Shawn Thornton putting in the work and scoring a big goal to get a 3-1 cushion.
"There’s no easy game, especially at this time and in this league," said captain Zdeno Chara, mirroring Coach's pregame thoughts. "Whoever you’re going to face, it doesn’t matter what the standings are looking like, but you want to make sure you approach every opponent with respect, but anything can happen, so we’ve just got to play our best every night."
They may not have gotten their best game tonight, but though they couldn't get their rhythm down, Coach Julien wouldn't let fatigue again be an excuse, with five games in seven days.
"Like I said after the last game in Pittsburgh, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t come out hungry," Coach told media postgame. "Those excuses, we can make them all night long. But, we don’t live on those kind of things. We take responsibility for our own actions and we should of been better tonight, we wanted to be better, but we weren’t."
One aspect that was better tonight, however, was the ability to hold a lead and come out with some better legs in the third period.
"We were moving our feet a little better," said Bergeron, who called Tuesday's game "unacceptable." "We talked about it. We’re the only ones that can get out of this, so it’s about pushing through, and things will take care of it. We’ve been through this before, and it’s not unusual. We know it’s going to happen sometimes. It’s about sticking with it and being better."
As the B's search for solutions to start putting together full 60-minute efforts - something that was such a staple for them during the Stanley Cup run in 2011 - they do recognize that they're not the only team in their current situation.
"Well, I think we always look for solutions, but the reality is through the whole season – you know, just look around the league, and we talk about games that we’ve blown in the third period, and you look around the league and it’s happening in different places," said Coach Julien. "So I don’t think we’re any different than any other team right now."
What sets the Bruins apart is their drive to be the team that doesn't let themselves ever get satisfied.
"We want to be different, we want to be as stable and consistent as possible," said Coach. "Right now we’re in an area where we talk about the number of games that we’ve played that we may be a little tired and we may not be as sharp as people are used to seeing us."
"But we’ve got to battle through those things and try and find that game that makes us a real good team. Right now we’re average at best, and you know we’re still finding ways to win so there’s a lot to be happy with your team when you can win games like that when you don’t think you’ve played well."
"Through the course of the season that’s a sign of a good hockey club. And that’s what we feel we are. So it’s not about getting down on ourselves, it’s about saying we’re not playing our best right now."
"We didn’t play extremely well tonight. Our guys are the first ones to tell you that, and I agree with them. But you know, we won a game and we got two points, and we’re going to work on playing better."