Sometimes, though, games like this one just happen, when you outshoot your opponent by a wide margin and you simply don’t get the bounce you need to get a victory.
“It’s a hockey loss,” said Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of the Senators at the Canadian Tire Centre. “Those kind of losses happen, and these kind of games happen. We just have to make sure we keep playing like we played tonight. I thought we played a great game. We had chances, and defensively, we were very solid.
“So we’ll try to take that positive and move on. But still, you don’t like losing, obviously.”
The Bruins battled on Sunday night, but the puck luck was not on their side, and that, coupled with a solid performance at the other end from Senators goaltender Craig Anderson, left the Bruins with their third regulation loss in as many games.
“The effort was good,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. “I don’t think you had to second-guess that the effort wasn’t good enough. I think at the end of the day, they took advantage of their chances, made the most of it, and we had ours — had lots of them. Their goalie played well for them tonight.
“I think that’s the story of the game tonight. We were one shot away, and we weren’t able to get that.”
The Bruins had plenty of opportunities in the first period, outshooting the Senators 16-10 in the frame, but still, it was the Senators who struck first, capitalizing on a late power play.
With 1:18 remaining in the period, Ottawa’s Mark Borowiecki laid a hard hit on Frank Vatrano, and Jimmy Hayes didn’t hesitate in going after him. Hayes was assessed a five-minute fighting major, a 10-minute misconduct and two minutes for instigating, which allowed the Senators their second man advantage of the frame.
One minute and four seconds later, Mark Stone banked a behind-the-net shot off Dennis Seidenberg’s skate and past Rask.
“They get one off a skate, and we didn’t get any of those bounces,” said Bruins forward Matt Beleskey. “But sometimes, that’s the way it goes.”
With about 12 minutes left in the second, the Bruins fought back, tying the game in unorthodox fashion. David Krejci took the puck hard to the net, cut across the crease and tried to tuck it in between the post and Anderson’s skate. Initially, the call on the ice was no goal, but upon video review, it was overturned and it was determined that the puck had crossed the goal line.
Just as they did in the first period, though, the Senators tallied a late goal — this one with 1:39 left in the frame — to steal Boston’s momentum. After Rask made a pad save on a Bobby Ryan shot from the right circle, the puck popped out to the opposite side of the crease and right to the stick of Mika Zibanejad, who buried it.
“It’s tough for momentum,” said defenseman Zach Trotman, who slotted back into the lineup after serving as the healthy scratch in the last seven. “The only positive from that is you have 20 minutes to kind of regroup in the locker room there, but it’s usually stuff you try and keep from happening.”
So, despite outshooting the Senators 31-17 through 40 minutes and dictating the pace of play, the Bruins found themselves down a goal heading into the final frame — and to add insult to injury, they would have to play it without Krejci, who collided with Ryan in the waning minutes of the second and suffered an upper body ailment that would keep him out the rest of the way.
“We’ve lost a lot of players, some key players, and we’re a team that’s got a lot of new faces, so we’re trying to battle through those situations,” Julien said. “But David Krejci is a big part of our team, and when you lose a guy like him — [defenseman] Torey Krug last night — and not to name the others I mentioned earlier [who] have been out for a while… We’ve just got to suck it up, and the guys have to step up and do the job. As simple as that.”
Ryan Spooner did extra duty, centering Beleskey and Loui Eriksson, and he — along with the rest of the Bruins — fought hard for the final 20 minutes.
“[Krejci] is a big piece, that’s for sure,” Beleskey said. “So when he goes down, I thought Spoons did a great job stepping up, playing some more minutes, but [Krejci] was a big loss for us.”
Despite the Bruins’ efforts, the Senators sealed it with an empty netter from Stone with 54 seconds remaining.
The Bruins won’t have to wait long to get another shot at Ottawa, as the Senators will visit TD Garden on Tuesday in the second leg of this home-and-home. There is no word on whether they will have Krejci at their disposal when that game comes around, but whether he is in the lineup or not, they said, they will have to find a way to get the job done.
“We’ve seen that before,” Rask said, “so we just have to be focused on our game and what we want to accomplish, no matter who we’re missing, and then just keep playing that way. If you start focusing on who you’re missing that’s going to end up hurting you. So that’s just where our focus has to be.”
Unfortunately, injuries have become a familiar refrain for this team. But in the past, the B’s have found ways to persevere, and whether they are missing Krejci, or Krug, or both, they vowed to rediscover that fortitude in time for their second date with the Senators.
“Those things are going to happen during the season,” Julien said. “I said that before. You’re going to face adversity at some point, and you’ve got to be able to handle it. We’re facing it right now, and are we getting puck luck? Maybe not. But you’ve got to battle through it.
“There’s nothing you can do that’s going to help you except work through it, so we’ve just go tot keep our heads up here and plug away. And as much as we’ve had some puck luck at times, we’ve got to find that again, and like I said, work through the tough times here. Make yourself a better team and a bigger team.”