But as the game went on, it quickly got quiet as the Bruins put just 15 shots on net in the first two periods, compared to Ottawa’s 28.
Despite a strong third period effort, the B’s lost to the Senators 1-0 on a first-period goal from Erik Karlsson.
According to Head Coach Claude Julien, the game that’s played after returning from a road trip is always the toughest – and it showed last night.
“Well, I think we kind of anticipated it as a coaching staff – that it would be a challenge before the game and that was the case,” Julien said. “You wish you had the answers to modify that so it wouldn’t happen, but it does.
“Those first two periods were really painful to watch and to see, and our guys just didn’t have any legs – our game was very, very slow," continued Julien. "Certainly, this was a game we would have liked to won, we knew the importance of these two points, or what they call four point games.
"We just couldn’t muster up enough to get that goal.”
The importance of the game is reflected in the standings, as the Bruins (37-21-3) are now just one point ahead of the Senators (34-23-8) in the Northeast division with 77 points.
The difference is that the Bruins have four games in hand, meaning that while Ottawa has 17 games left on the schedule, the Black & Gold have 21. For Julien, that’s no reason to panic, but it’s also not a reason to get complacent.
“I’m not saying we’re getting comfortable here, but that’s the luxury that we have,” Julien said. “It’s up to us to just do the job. This is an opportunity for us to have those games in hand – take advantage of it. I don’t think I’m really worried about [Ottawa], as you say worry about ourselves and just do the job and we’ll be fine.”
In the first period, Tyler Seguin
was sent to the box for interference and the Senators went on the power play for the second time in the period.
The result was a power play goal from Karlsson – a rocket of a slap shot that Tim Thomas
never even saw, courtesy of a perfect screen from Daniel Alfredsson.
But after that, the Bruins had their chances on four power plays, but couldn’t get on the board.
“You know, I thought our power play had some good chances,” Seguin said. “A few of the power plays I thought definitely gave us some momentum.
"In the end it’s about results - getting those goals and winning the game so I can definitely sit here and say we had a lot of chances again, but in the end another scoreless result.”
Throughout the game, the Bruins offensive attack looked out of synch. Some credit goes to 20-year-old Ottawa goaltender Robin Lehner for making 32 saves in the win, but Boston’s chances often came from the outside and the second-chances were kept to a minimum.
On the other side of the ice, Thomas was just as sharp
. The veteran goaltender made 37 saves, and consistently put his team in his position to win the game. But by the time the horn sounded at the end of the third period, the Bruins hadn’t scored.
“You know in the third period, we were playing a better game I thought and at the time, just ran into a good goalie,” Seguin said. “It’s our job to put in the back of the net, and we just couldn’t do that tonight.”--- Anthony Gulizia