Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Boston Bruins

Bruins Not Blind to Underachievement After Dropping Fifth Straight

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

EDMONTON - The Bruins certainly aren't where they would like to be, with 25 games remaining in the regular season.

They're hanging onto a playoff position by three points. The important third point came in a 4-3 shootout loss to the Oilers at Rexall Place on Wednesday night.

That slight cushion is little consolation, after the Bruins fell down 2-0 early in the game and had to battle back to tie it up 3-3, before the longest shootout in Bruins' history - with 11 rounds - ensued.

It didn't matter who Boston was playing, having lost the first two games on their five-game road trip, and four straight. It also didn't matter the Bruins had picked up a point in Calgary with the loss there coming in overtime.

They needed to play like a desperate team.

"When you look at the outcome, it certainly doesn't look that way," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "I think there's a lot of frustration right now. I think the guys, everybody's feeling the heat we feel that's been put on us, and it's up to us to work through this and find ways to overcome those kinds of things."

"It's part of being a professional, it's part of the game. So it's up to us. We have higher expectations. In that dressing room, coaches and ourselves, we have higher expectations than what we've shown right now."

"So we're not going to hide behind disappointment and stand here and think that we're doing OK," Julien continued. "We're underachieving right now and our game's got to get better. I still feel we've got the group in there to make it better, so it's up to us to take charge."

The Bruins showed jump in the initial few minutes to start the first, but Tuukka Rask soon came under siege. At 4:29 in, Nail Yakupov struck to give the Oilers an early 1-0 lead.

Boston was caught puck-watching, with Derek Roy behind the net. Yakupov found the seam through the slot and put home his fourth goal and seventh point in his past six games.

The Bruins generated chances, with Carl Soderberg putting three bids on Edmonton netminder Ben Scrivens in the first, and David Krejci ringing iron.

But with 4:56 left in the opening frame, Daniel Paille took a tripping penalty in the offensive zone. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made it 2-0, 49 seconds into the power play, after he found himself all alone in the right circle.

"It is what it is. I try to stop every puck and those breakdowns happen, and they just happen too often for us, that's it," said Rask, who made his 15th straight appearance between the pipes, and his third straight start.

There was a chance that Malcolm Subban could have received his first NHL start in Edmonton, but likely given the Bruins' start to the road trip and their recent struggles, Rask was given the nod.

"We sat together and we made that decision," Julien said of his meeting with management on making the call l to put Rask in.

Rask finished the night with 27 saves. After an 11-round shootout, Martin Marincin - with no goals through 17 games entering the night's action - was the only shooter to score, winning it for the Oilers.

It marked the longest shootout in Bruins' history, and the longest since a nine-round shootout during the 2006-07 season.

"Oh, was it?" said Rask. "Yeah, it would have been nice to win it."

"But I'd seen enough, so I decided to end it," he snarked. "I don't know if [Marincin] lost the puck - I thought he had lost the puck, and that makes it difficult."

Regardless of the way the game ended, the Bruins shouldn't have let it start the way it did.

"First period, I don't know if we had some moments there, but bad plays, bad reads, mental errors," said Rask.

Loui Eriksson scored a pivotal goal with 19.1 on the clock in the first period to reduce the Bruins' deficit to 2-1. It came on Boston's lone power play of the night, with Eriksson deflecting in Dougie Hamilton's drive.

The Bruins had retooled their power play in practice, putting Torey Krug and Hamilton on the points on the same unit, and moving David Krejci down low with Eriksson and Patrice Bergeron. The move paid off, as the unit recorded six shots on goal and scored on Eriksson's tally, marking their first goal on the man advantage since Feb. 7.

They should have been able to carry that momentum into the second period, but when Brad Marchand was sent to the box, the Oilers took full advantage, going two-for-two on the power play.

Teddy Purcell put home a shot from the slot after Jordan Eberle set him up. The Bruins' penalty kill had not allowed two power-play goals since a 7-2 loss in San Jose on Dec. 4.

"You want to have a game that everything goes well and it didn't - PK allowed two goals, we got a goal on the power play, but we made some mistakes, cost us on those goals," said Chara.

The Bruins made a push to end the second period, and got rewarded for it.

Reilly Smith scored his second goal in his last 20 games, putting in a rebound off of Brad Marchand's shot from up top with 4:08 let tin the period.

"It's nice, it might have helped us get one point tonight, but that's not what we were looking for, so you know, still a lot more I've got to do to be able to help this team on a more constant basis," Smith said, of breaking his drought.

Just 1:35 later, David Pastrnak sent a perfect deflection off a blast from Zdeno Chara past Scrivens to tie the game at 3-3.

The Bruins had chances in the third period, despite having to kill back-to-back penalties to Dennis Seidenberg and Bergeron.

"We did a good job battling back," said Smith. "I think we just need to get to the net a little bit more and we had chances, even in overtime, to close out the game, and when you don't do that, you give teams time to stay around and it goes to the shootout like that, anything can happen."

Boston didn't allow a shot on goal from the Oilers in overtime.

"You know, it was a frustrating night for a lot of reasons," said Julien. "Our penalty kill had been so good, made some real mental mistakes there and gave them some great opportunities. We know if you give them opportunities, they'll score goals, so we adjusted after that and were better on the penalty kill."

"Our power play, the only one we got, was good. You know, we got ourselves back in the game, but at the end of this all, it's our inability to finish right now," Julien went on. "Whether it's confidence, whether it's you know - probably more a lack of confidence because we create them. From the last few seconds of the third, to overtime, and all that stuff, it's frustrating."

Milan Lucic nearly ended the game in regulation with about four seconds left on the clock, but his bid was deflected high. He also had a prime opportunity to end it in overtime.

"Obviously would be nice to win, but if we don't start playing the way we kind of did in the second period, full games, we're not going to be successful, and that's just the truth," said Rask. "And you know, doesn't matter if you start feeling sorry for yourself or whatever, but frustration's not going to help."

The Bruins have two games remaining on their road trip, first facing the Blues in St. Louis on Friday, before facing off against the Blackhawks in Chicago on Sunday.

"All I'm worried about right now is next game, be ready for the next one," said Chara. "We know it's going to be a fight till the end. We are not a group that's going to give up. We're going to fight for every point, every game. We know that we can get it together, like we did before. We showed that we can play much better, like we did in the second and the third, we've just got to put those 60 minutes together."

If the Bruins can flip the switch like they did late in the second period, for the entire game, they'll be able to turn this trip around.

"it's challenging, and everybody's frustrated, and that includes us," said Julien. "But you've got to build on the things that you saw that started going better, and you've got to hope that your team becomes an even better team next game."

View More