DETROIT - Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien had hoped his team was ready to go.
After dropping a frustrating 4-0 loss on Monday to the New York Islanders, the Bruins were adamant amount getting the job done on Wednesday in Detroit.
They came to Joe Louis Arena ready in the morning, excited after a day off the ice. Energized.
"As a coach, you always hope your team's ready to go," Julien had said. "It's up to them to go out there and show that they're ready to go."
There was no question as to their readiness when the puck dropped for Rivalry Night at "The Joe," with the Bruins storming out to a 3-0 lead on their first eight shots of the game.
Frank Vatrano kicked off the night by striking on the first shift of the game, just 44 seconds in, cleaning up his own rebound for the 1-0 lead. After a Brandon Carlo shorthanded tally, Vatrano notched his second of the game on the power play.
With Patrice Bergeron adding another power play goal late in the first period, the Bruins took a 4-1 lead into the middle frame, and chased Jared Coreau from the Wings' crease. That's where the game turned.
At the end of the night, the Bruins found themselves on the losing end of a shootout, dropping a 6-5 loss to their Atlantic Division rivals.
"We collapsed," said Julien. "It's pretty obvious. It's one of those games. We didn't get the save when we needed it, and we made some mistakes, which gave them some chances, so a lot of things went wrong tonight after we took that lead."
'Did you sense panic?' Julien was asked by a reporter.
"No, no. Just breakdowns."
'Hard to explain after such a good start?' Julien was asked.
"Yeah, that's why I'm at a loss for words right now," he said, and later added at the end of his scrum, "Obviously, it wasn't good enough."
"Basically, we were giving them the momentum, by our play really, by mistakes, mental mistakes and allowing them to get back in the game," said Bergeron. "It was a 4-1 game, we were jumping, had lots of energy, creating some great plays and also playing well defensively."
"And we completely stopped doing that and when they got those goals, we got back on our heels and we stopped playing the way that we played in the first, but also the way that we need to play."
Detroit's goals at came at even strength. They scored three straight to tie the game at 4-4 with 5:24 to go in the second period.
Boston struggled to get shots on goal during this stretch. On just their second shot of the period, Adam McQuaid fired in his first goal of the season to get the Bruins back on top, 5-4.
Gustav Nyquist later tied the game at 5-5 with 3:04 left in regulation to force extra time.
"It seemed like it flip-flopped; maybe we got a little complacent," said Brad Marchand. "You knew they were going to come out hard. You knew they were going to get reamed out after the first and they were going to come out harder and they did, and we weren't ready for it."
"I feel like every time we had a breakdown, they were scoring, and we got away from our game a bit. We were turning too many pucks over in the neural zone and giving them opportunities."
The schedule doesn't get any easier for the Bruins, who next host the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night, before heading to Pittsburgh, and then hosting the Red Wings and Penguins at TD Garden.
"Yeah, it's not going to get easier," said Tuukka Rask, who made 21 saves. "This is probably the biggest couple of weeks in our season coming up, really good teams against us. We'll have to play some good hockey."
"Honestly, right now, it's about making sure we go back and we have to find a way," said Bergeron. "It's unacceptable what just happened the last two games. I said that after the Islanders game, I thought we learned from that, and you've got to play for 60 minutes and you can't just take your foot off the gas pedal, because teams are too good, they're going to make you pay and that's what they just did tonight."
The way the Bruins simplified the game and got the job done in the first period, they're going to need to play the full game in that same fashion.
"I think at some point, everybody needs to just go [all] out and just start battling hard and stop overthinking out there," said Rask. "I think we showed in the first period, how good of a team we can be and then let loose a little bit and again, and see what happens, so I think we've just got to stop thinking and start skating and working hard and make the right plays, and that's it."
"We've got our work cut out for us, we're really going to have to battle and make sure to bring our best every night," said Marchand. "We can't have letdowns like we did tonight and again, we had a good start, but we can't finish the way we did."
Video: Condensed Game: Bruins at Red Wings