Holding a 2-1 lead over the Anaheim Ducks late in regulation on Thursday night at TD Garden, the home team looked poised to take the win, thanks to power play goals from Ryan Spooner and Loui Eriksson.
But the visitors had a different plan, battling until the end and tying the game with just 38.5 left in the third period. The winner from Ryan Getzlaf came 3:09 into overtime, as the Bruins fell 3-2 to drop to 0-3-3 in their past six games.
With the extra point, the Ducks pushed into the the top spot in the League along with the New York Rangers, who pay a visit to TD Garden on Saturday.
The Rangers handed Ottawa a 5-1 loss on Thursday night. With the Bruins' gained point, they pulled even at 85 points with the Senators, who have one game in hand.
But there was little consolation in that for the Black and Gold, especially given the nature of the loss.
"Terrible. Terrible feeling obviously," said Tuukka Rask, who stopped 26 of 29 shots. "But we played a great game and a good kill there in the overtime and then a loss, so it's tough to swallow."
Anaheim's overtime winner came 30 seconds after the Bruins were forced to kill a hooking penalty to Zdeno Chara early in the extra frame. The strong effort went for naught when Getzlaf powered in and let off a quick shot from the high slot that whipped by Rask.
The Ducks' tying goal wasn't sitting well with the netminder, either, as Corey Perry fought for space in the blue paint and tipped it past on a drive-by off Getzlaf's drive from out high. Rask and others thought it could have been called as goalie interference, but the goal was not reviewed.
"Obviously sometimes it’s luck, but when you battle until the end like they did, you know, you might get rewarded and they did," said Rask.
"They have some dangerous guys that are capable of creating things every shift and that’s what they did," said defenseman Adam McQuaid, who had the snarl in his game throughout the night, engaging in plenty of battles.
"It was a heavy, hard-fought game. They’re not easy games and that’s the way it is at the end of the season and playoffs. You have to fight for every inch and that’s the way it was."
"Just one of those things that, you know, no matter how good you feel about your game, you still lost and it’s a tough one to swallow," added Rask. "But we’ve got to realize that we played a good game and moving on, that’s a positive sign."
That was the mantra in the Bruins' locker room on Thursday night.
For a team battling for points and needing to fight to get in the postseason, the defeat was tough to take - because of the dagger late in regulation, because of the period-long 2-1 lead off two power play tallies, and because of the step forward in their defensive game.
"We made it the kind of game that we need to make it from here on in," said Head Coach Claude Julien. "We can’t keep giving up four or five goals a game. We’ve got o keep that puck out of our net and if we do that, we give ourselves a chance. Tonight, in my mind, it should’ve been a win."
"We played a pretty tight checking game. We didn’t give them that many chances. Everyone was working hard out there. Just a tough one to swallow, to lose like we did," said Eriksson, whose goal on the man advantage came just 27 seconds into the third to put Boston on top, 2-1.
The power play unit with Eriksson also converted in the second period, when Spooner tied the game at 1-1 after handling a Bergeron chip pass off the rush. Torey Krug and David Krejci started the breakout up ice.
Krejci assisted on both power play goals, returning to the lineup after being sidelined for 15 games with his left knee injury. He played on the wing with Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
"I felt OK, pretty good," said Krejci, who logged 19:45 in ice time. "I enjoyed it [on the wing.] There’s things I still have to work on as a winger. It’s a little different, but I thought I had a decent game. I know I can do much more."
"I’ve got to stick with it, stay positive, believe in myself, believe in this group that we can do it. That’s all I can control."
"The guy’s missed the first two months of the season and then five weeks - his pace probably isn’t where it should be, but he was a good addition to our hockey club tonight," said Julien.
Moving forward, the Bruins could look at the lost point. They can look at how tough this one was to take. But at this time of the year, with just eight games to go, the focus has to shift to taking two points from the Rangers on Saturday - and it won't be an easy task.
"At this point of the year, I think you’ve got to earn your bounces, and excuses are out the window," said Chris Kelly. "I think you’ve got to earn results, and when you don’t get them, you’ve got to accept them, and move forward, and keep working."
"I think the intensity was there. The work was there. All the good things that you want to see from your team were there. So yeah it’s disappointing, but it’s past that time to dwell on things. It’s, you know, OK, let’s look at the next game."
The hard-fought game could have gone in the Bruins' favor, but it didn't. Take the positives, and move on.
"It doesn’t matter how. You just have to do it," said Seidenberg. "Right now, it’s important that we have to look forward. Every game, like we’ve been talking about for the last month, really counts, and so we can’t really let if affect us moving forward."
"I think if we get down on ourselves, it's not really going to work for us," said Spooner. "For us right now, we just have to play our game and have the right attitude."
The Bruins aren't out of this yet. Neither are the Senators, or Florida Panthers, or any other teams chasing the playoffs. They can't control them. They can control the product they put out on the ice, and the pride they have in their effort.
"We’re not worried [about Ottawa]," said Julien. "We’re not asking anybody else to do our dirty work right now. It’s up to us to play and win our games."