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Bruins Return Home with Loss to Flames

Boston fall for just third time in regulation at TD Garden this season

by Eric Russo @erusso22 /

BOSTON - The Bruins have not had much trouble taking care of business on Causeway Street this season.

As such, the Black & Gold were, no doubt, looking forward to the support of the TD Garden faithful on Tuesday night after returning home from a four-game road swing through New York and Western Canada.

But that boost never quite materialized, as Boston fell at home for just the third time in regulation this season with a choppy 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames. The Bruins now sit at 21-3-9 at the Garden this season.

"We weren't at our best, for sure," said Marchand, who potted his 27th career shorthanded goal - extending his club record - to tie the game, 1-1, midway through the second period. "We didn't have it all the way through the game. We were a little sleepy, I guess, at times.

"Not our normal, upbeat, high-energy game. But that's going to happen…in an 82-game schedule you're not going to be perfect. Unfortunately, we didn't get this one. But there's lots left."

Video: Bruins Address The Media After A 5-2 Loss to Flame

After Marchand tied the game at 10:06 of the second with a sweet finish on his shorthanded breakaway, Calgary responded quickly - just over three minutes later - with two goals from Sean Monahan in a span of 1:12 to make it 3-1.

"Clearly not good enough," said Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. "I thought some guys came to play and some guys didn't. Didn't break a sweat, some of them, it looked like. I'm sure there was effort, they were trying, they were just in between, couldn't execute or whatever. But at the end of the day, it wasn't good enough."

The loss also marked Tuukka Rask's first regulation loss at TD Garden this season, snapping his home point streak at 20 games, which was tied with Tiny Thompson for the longest such streak by a goalie in Bruins history. Rask is now 14-1-6 on home ice.

Ritchie Debuts 

Winger Nick Ritchie, acquired from the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Danton Heinen ahead of Monday's deadline, made his Bruins debut and was as advertised from a physical standpoint. The 6-foot-2, 230-pounder landed a game-high seven hits.

"Think there were a couple positives," said Ritchie, who was without a shot and finished a minus-2 in 14:17 of ice time. "But just how the team played wasn't what we wanted and I think it'll come as we go on…you're in a new locker room, a new city, a new building, everything's new…it is going to take a little bit, but we are hoping to shorten things up."

Ritchie began the night as the left wing alongside Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork, but midway through the contest Cassidy shifted him to a line with David Krejci and Karson Kuhlman, in place of Jake DeBrusk, in an effort to jumpstart both trios.

"I thought he was fine. I'm not going to judge him…he flew in here [on Monday night]," said Cassidy. "He's trying to get acclimated. There has to be a decent amount of period before we see what we got, and then go from there. I'd rather not, I'd rather watch some tape and see, did he finish checks, did he get inside? Some of the details he's going to bring to us.

"I'd rather look at the whole group…the guys we rely on to play, play well, had a tougher time tonight. And it kind of showed up in the end…I didn't see much energy, much offense, much willingness to recover pucks.

"The Coyle line had a rare off night. They were just fighting it, so you try to kind of mix it up a little bit. Krejci and DeBrusk haven't produced a whole lot lately, so it's just get a guy away from a guy for a while, see if it loosens them up. Sometimes it works. Tonight, it did not."

Video: BOS Recap: Marchand, Wagner score in loss to Flames

Fourth Line Delivers 

One line that did have some jump on Tuesday night was Boston's unit of Sean Kuraly, Par Lindholm, and Chris Wagner. The fourth-line trio almost singlehandedly pulled the Bruins back into the game in the third period with back-to-back heavy shifts, including a strong effort that led to Wagner's second goal in as many games when he whacked one home from his knees in the crease to make it 3-2 Flames with 6:51 to go.

"They were our best line in terms of finding pucks and getting it through the neutral zone," said Cassidy. "We had a tough time and some of that's on our defense. I thought we were pretty stubborn, turning pucks over in the middle of the ice. We have some forwards that are risk-reward, we live with that with certain guys.

"We know that it can happen at the other end, but I just thought against a team that was playing a passive one-two-two in the neutral zone, we just did not - we were stubborn. We kept wanting to put the puck in the middle of the ice and it wasn't there and it came back on us. We paid the price."  

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