BOSTON - The Bruins pushed things to extra time for the second straight game, but fell to the New York Islanders, 3-2, in a shootout on Thursday night at TD Garden. The setback marked Boston's seventh loss in the last eight games as they continue to muddle through their first real taste of adversity this season.
"Well, I've always thought in order to win in this league you have to go through some losses - whether that's a losing streak or you are unable to win or your game kind of dips," said Torey Krug, who tied the game at 2 with a 5-on-3 goal at 7:24 of the third. "In order to embrace wins and to enjoy the feeling of winning, you have to go through some tough times, so that's part of it with this group. I don't know what it is but we're going to find a way to figure it out and fall in love with winning.
"I think we need to really get back to hating to lose because when you hate to lose the more you don't accept these outcomes and the way we are playing. It starts with our top guys and it trickles all the way down to our depth players, but everyone has a role to play on this team."
More notes and observations from the Bruins' shootout loss to the Islanders:
The teams combined for just 20 shots through the first 40 minutes as the third- and fourth-ranked teams in the NHL in goals allowed played it tight. Things opened up a bit, particularly for the Bruins, in the third period, as Boston came away with a 16-9 shot advantage in the final frame en route to tying the game on Krug's power-play marker.
"They don't give you much, their efforts are evidence of that and their goals against," said Krug. "At the same time, we think we can do a little more. Guys in this room, and probably each individual feels that. Whether it's a lot or a little more, every guy wants to take on that responsibility and hopefully we can right the ship."
Finding A Way
The Bruins' power play has struggled in recent weeks and was 0 for 3 on the night heading into the third period. But after Brock Nelson went off for a delay of game to give Boston a 5-on-3 advantage, Krug scored just eight seconds later with a rocket of a one-timer off a feed from David Krejci.
"We started shooting the puck," said Krug. "[Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy] had mentioned earlier in the game just to start shooting and hopefully crash the net and make our plays from there. We started shooting the puck and on the 5-on-3 we cashed in. Right before we got the 5-on-3 we had a couple of great shots and it really put them on their heels, so it was a really timely goal for us."
Boston, however, still had nearly a full power play remaining after scoring so quickly, but failed to cash in and take control of the game.
"My feeling is we didn't get very many good looks," said Cassidy. "The Islanders have a kill where their top four kind of roams around a little bit. It kind of pushes you outside. The middle four tends to hold the middle of the ice, so it's hard to get pucks in there. I thought we were stubborn a little bit early on, trying to jam them into, we'll call it the bumper.
"I don't think we shot the puck enough in the third. We made a conscious effort to do that…5-on-3, again, we took a shot from a little farther out. I know it's a little easier when there's only three, but we did a better job with it then to at least shoot the puck. So that part of it came around, but we missed some opportunities earlier to do that."
Video: NYI@BOS: Krug cranks a one-time blast for PPG
The Bruins' fell to 0-5 in the shootout this season. Charlie Coyle, who has two of Boston's three shootout tallies this season, hit the cross bar to start off for Boston, before David Pastrnak pulled the Bruins within, 2-1, when he connected in the second round. It was the Bruins' first shootout goal from a player other than Coyle this season.
After Josh Bailey was turned away by Tuukka Rask to kick off the third round, Brad Marchand had a chance to extend the shootout but was denied by Semyon Varlamov to clinch the Isles' victory.
"Listen, do I always sit here and tell you I want to win them? Of course," said Cassidy. "Going forward, they're not the most important part of the game - if you miss the playoffs by a point, clearly they are. But we feel we have guys that can score in the shootout. Hasn't happened for us, and other teams have finished better than us. I don't have an answer for you there.
"We've talked about this before. We do work on this in practice…not every day, but we do certain reps on it, build it in like probably every other specialized part of the game, like working on 6-on-5, etc. Hasn't gone our way yet. I've got to believe we stay in that, if we get in enough of them, some are going to go our way. But, clearly, it's not a strength of our team."
Video: BOS Recap: Krug, Bjork score in SO loss to Islanders
Bar Down Bjork
Anders Bjork put the Bruins ahead, 1-0, with a beautiful bar-down snipe over the glove of Varlamov just 1:58 into the game. It was a strong start for the Bruins, though they were unable to muster much for the next 45 minutes or so of game action.
Bjork nearly notched his second of the night with the game tied at 1 late in the second, when he unleashed a one-timer off a nifty feed from Charlie McAvoy from low in the right-wing circle. But Varlamov lunged to his left to make a spectacular glove save and keep the game deadlocked.
"I definitely thought I had that one, it was a great save," said Bjork. "Learn from it and maybe keep it low next time."
Former Bruins blue liner Johnny Boychuk launched one of his patented rockets from the point to tie the game at 3:26 of the second and later added an assist on Mathew Barzal's tally with 1:34 remaining in the middle frame that put the Islanders up, 2-1.
Video: NYI@BOS: Bjork wires home wrister for opening goal