That was the word the Bruins used over and over again to describe Tuesday’s 9-2 loss to the L.A. Kings.
“I feel like we got absolutely embarrassed,” said Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara. “Obviously they played a really good game, but we had nowhere near the game that we needed to play and it was embarrassing.
“There’s obviously things that are going to stay inside this locker room, but basically, we need to be better. We need to perform better. We’ve had a few stretches that we played well [this season]; we won some tight games and big games, and then we were facing some challenges, or some teams that are on top of the league, and we didn’t follow up with the performances that we had previous games. That’s, again, tonight’s case. So yeah, it was embarrassing.”
The B’s felt the loss was, for the most part, self-inflicted. They felt that the effort wasn’t there. They gave too many chances away. They made too many mistakes that seemed to lead directly to goals against.
“As a Bruins player, there’s so much history here, and when a game like that happens, you get really ashamed of yourself,” said forward David Krejci. “So it was a tough loss. It will be a tough night, but no one’s going to feel sorry for us.
“But we have to wake up here and work tomorrow.”
Brad Marchand had the hot hand for the nine games leading up to Tuesday’s, and perhaps the one positive early on in this one was that in his case, nothing had changed. The winger got Boston on the board with a power play goal five minutes into the frame.
But the Kings would get even before the end of the period with a power play tally of their own. Jeff Carter deflected the puck off a Bruins defenseman and into the net to make it 1-1 with 1:39 remaining in the first.
A little over a minute later, the Kings took a 2-1 lead, as Vincent Lecavalier centered the puck for Marian Gaborik, who fired a wrister past Rask on the gloveside.
“Those can happen in games,” said defenseman Kevan Miller. “We didn’t have a good response after that as a team, and sometimes, it’s not going to go your way, and we have to find ways to battle for that.”
After a strong start to the game, a late-period collapse in the first cost the Bruins. And it would only get worse in the second, as Boston allowed four more unanswered goals.
“We played good in the first, I thought — then they got those two quick ones, and after that, it was all them, really,” said Rask, who was pulled in favor of Jonas Gustavsson after L.A.’s fifth goal. “But as a goalie, I’ve had those nights this year, past years, when the puck’s not bouncing your way. We had a couple tough bounces today, and all of a sudden, it’s 9-2.”
Less than three minutes into the second, the Kings extended their lead to two, as a turnover by Miller on the right side of the Bruins’ crease landed right on the stick of Andy Andreoff, and seconds later, it was in the back of the net.
Thirty-three seconds later, Drew Doughty added the Kings’ second power play tally before Dwight King struck to make it 5-1 L.A. Trevor Lewis added the sixth goal with 1:04 left in the frame.
“This is the biggest loss since I’ve been here, and they way we lost — especially in the third and second period — it’s just unacceptable,” Krejci said. “You should go out there — even if you’re losing 6-1 after the second period — show some pride and try to fight and show fans that we respect them coming here.
“We don’t want to get booed in our building. And we didn’t respond. So like I said, it was embarrassing.”
Four minutes into the third period, former Bruin Milan Lucic struck with the Kings’ seventh unanswered goal, and the Kings would follow that up with three more in the third for a total of nine goals on the night.
Tyler Randell scored for the Bruins early in the third, but that is the only offense the Bruins would muster for the remainder of the game.
The Bruins’ 57 shots against was the most allowed since 1965.
“The breakdowns we had tonight need to be fixed ASAP,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We really need to have our heads up tomorrow and be back at it, because that’s the only way we can get out of this.”
All season long, TD Garden has seemingly haunted the Bruins. Though they entered Tuesday’s game with a 3-2-1 mark in their last six games on home ice, this contest was perhaps their most uninspired effort of the season. The fact that it came at home made it even more worrisome.
“We have a lot of work to do,” Rask said. “It was bad — [to] lose 9-2 at home, it’s pretty, pretty bad. But show up to work and try to fix things because it really is unacceptable, and we have to show up to work.
“It’s embarrassing, obviously, especially at home. And I think when you look at the way we’ve played this year and the way we’ve been kind of taking steps forward and thought we fixed things, then you do something like this — it is embarrassing and it is unacceptable. But it’s the reality, and we can’t do anything about it now. We just have to move on and focus on the next one and show up to work.”
Twice in the last two weeks, the Bruins have faced Western Conference heavyweights. In those two games, they have been outscored 15-4. Tuesday’s effort left them grasping for ways to shore up against the better teams the NHL has to offer.
“We talk about it before these games — that they’re big games and good teams and big teams,” Rask said. “We talk about how we should play against them, and we pretty much do the opposite. You can tell that we haven’t been able to play against an Anaheim or L.A., for example. It’s something we have to get better at if we want to be an elite team.”
Normally, the Bruins live by a short-term memory. Normally, they are quick to put losses behind them. That is not the case this time around. This loss was too severe, too embarrassing.
In some ways, the Bruins never want to forget this type of loss.
“They just took over the whole game,” said forward Brad Marchand. “We weren’t going in battles. We weren’t showing any emotion. We weren’t playing our system. We weren’t backing each other up. We just – we weren’t doing anything.
“Anyone who has any kind of pride knows that this is embarrassing, and they should be pissed off about it. So hopefully, there’s a lot of that right now.”
As they prepare to embark on a season-long six-game road trip, the Bruins’ only option is to find a way to channel their anger and frustration into something good. They know they need to find a way to get angry enough to ensure a loss like this doesn’t happen again.
“I think if anything, it should create some anger and some determination to want to redeem yourself for an embarrassing loss,” said Head Coach Claude Julien. “So I’m not concerned about the confidence of the guys. It does happen during the course of a season. You don’t like to see it, especially when it’s at home, but we’ll go on the road here for these next six games and hopefully understand the importance of each and every one of those games that we’re going to be playing.”