BostonBruins.com - Not playing the full 60 turned against the Bruins on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
Gregory Campbell gave Boston a 1-0 lead over the Canadiens at the end of the first period, in which the Bruins outshot Montreal 10-3. In the third, trailing 2-1 and searching for the equalizer, the Bruins again tipped the scale with 16 to the Habs' 6.
It was the middle 20 minutes, in which the Canadiens put up two goals and outshot the Bruins 18-7, that led to the defeat.
"We didn’t play good enough in the second and that was the difference in the game," said Captain Zdeno Chara.
It's as simple as that.
And it's why the Bruins spent a good portion of their Friday morning at the practice facility, going over video, and hitting the ice for a determined practice.
"I thought our first period was still good; we had no issues there. Our second period, as I said in French, was atrocious and embarrassing," Head Coach Claude Julien had said in Montreal following the loss.
"All excuses aren’t acceptable. You have to take the blame for what you did and didn’t do and we didn’t show up for the second period and we allowed them to score two goals on us and that’s the only place I’m going to tell you right now that cost us the game."
The players knew it, too.
"We have enough experience in here that those lulls, so to speak, can’t happen during the game," said Campbell. "The first period was pretty good and the onus was on us to keep that level of play up. It was a big game for us, a four point game, and some games in hand and I think we let that slip."
It was an opportunity missed on Thursday night, as Montreal now sits one point above the Bruins (39) though Boston has two games on hand.
"Is it frustrating to not be in first?" a reporter asked the Captain from the visiting team locker room at the Bell Centre.
"It’s frustrating that we didn’t play a 60-minute game," remarked Zee.
With a practice day on Friday to review the game against the Habs, namely the second period, the Bruins weren't too pleased with what they saw.
The team uses video all the time, but after that second period, this one got its point across.
So, was it as bad as Coach said?
"Yeah, probably worse. It’s the luxury of video," said Chris Kelly. "It looks worse after the fact I think. Such a good learning tool, video is. When you’re in the moment, you maybe don’t realize the mistakes that you’re making and you don’t see the game like they see from behind the bench or up top."
"So it’s not always what you want to see but sometimes it’s what you need to see and I thought it was a good video session."
A hard, battling practice, filled with vocal coaches and tons of skating ensued for the Bruins.
"You don’t always want to see it but sometimes you need to see it and I thought our practice was where it needed to be," said the alternate captain. "Hopefully we can build off practice and have a good skate [Saturday] morning and be ready for Pittsburgh."
For the Bruins, it's not just inconsistency within games that they've struggled with this season.
"We talked about the inconsistency of our game and sometimes it’s from one game to another and sometimes it’s like [Thursday] night, a certain period," said Julien.
"So we showed some video and where we’re getting away from our game. A lot of it is about seeing it and correcting it and a lot of it is about realizing it."
"Especially in the second period. I think it’s been pretty obvious to anybody who’s followed our team that our second periods have at times represented a challenge."
"So we’re just trying to work on our game as a whole and trying to fix the things that need to be fixed and right now I think we’ve seen our team play some real solid hockey and we’ve seen our team really struggle at times. So if we can fix that I think a lot of things will get fixed."
His team is on board with the correction.
"We kind of struggled in the game and a lot of games this year putting together complete efforts," said defenseman Matt Bartkowski following the team's determined skate.
"We wanted to have a complete practice that will hopefully lead to a complete game."