BOSTON - The Bruins' four-game win streak came to a close on Sunday evening with a 4-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers at TD Garden.
Boston took an early lead but was unable to generate much of a sustained offensive attack, landing just 11 shots on goal through two periods. The Bruins pushed in the third (14 shots) after Ryan Strome grabbed the eventual winner just 2:07 into the frame, but could not find the equalizer.
"I thought they played well, but I thought a lot of it was us," said Riley Nash. "I don't think we were quite ready to go. It seemed like every time we got in their zone it was kind of one-and-done for the night. I think we can look within ourselves for that, I just don't think we were hard enough on pucks…on nights like that you just got to find a way to get it done."
Perhaps the most disappointing part of the Bruins' loss was their inability to provide support for Tuukka Rask. Boston's ace netminder returned after serving as the back-up during Anton Khudobin's torrid four-game winning streak and made 32 saves on 35 shots.
"Obviously he wants to win hockey games, it doesn't matter how," said Torey Krug. "We've got to do a better job of playing for him and getting that win. Tie game, third period, in our home building - a good chance to get him going again. We came out there and let him down. We've got to do a better job of making sure that we can come out with this win."
Video: BOS Recap: Pastrnak, Krejci score in Bruins' loss
Rask fell to 3-8-2 this season and has now lost four straight starts, during which the Bruins have managed to score just seven goals.
"When they start to pile up and nothing seems to go your way, it's frustrating," said Rask. "Obviously right now it's frustrating, but tomorrow is a new day, go back to work and start building something new. That's all you really can control. Your work ethic and attitude, and how you show up to work. That's what I'm going to do."
Despite nearly a two-week layoff from game action, Rask said he felt strong between the pipes. Edmonton's 10 first-period shots allowed the 30-year-old to get a feel early on.
"I felt good. I got right into the game," said Rask. "That was the difference from the past. There were a lot of shots early on. I got right into the game and after that, same film I've seen before….tough bounce."
Video: Bruins speak after 4-2 loss to the Oilers
After David Pastrnak extended his points streak to three games with a power-play tally late in the first, Edmonton took a 2-1 lead on goals from Patrick Maroon and Adam Larsson during a five-minute stretch of the second. David Krejci tied the game just 1:11 later when he finished a feed from Nash at the right post, but that was all the Bruins could muster.
"It seemed like we lacked energy in the first couple periods," said Torey Krug. "We weren't throwing many checks. When your legs aren't moving you can't hit those guys and you can't meet the puck there, then they're playing with more energy and they're playing with the puck. It's a more fun game for them.
"I think the first two periods we definitely lacked energy and the third we started doing things better, holding on to pucks and chipping it in. We can't just go back to the mentality."
More observations from the Bruins' loss to the Oilers:
Power Play strikes: Boston snapped an 0-for-17 stretch on the power play when Pastrnak struck for the B's first goal on the man advantage since Brad Marchand's tally on Nov. 10 in Toronto.
Pastrnak took a feed from Krug, pulled off a backhand toe drag, and ripped a wrister by Cam Talbot to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead with 5:57 left in the first period.
Video: EDM@BOS: Pastrnak toe drags, snipes PPG
Apple picking: Rask picked up his first assist of the season on Pastrnak's tally. The netminder stopped the puck behind the net allowing Krug to scoop it up and start the rush. Krug added two helpers of his own and now has 11 points (2 goals, 9 assists) over his last 10 games. It was his third multi-point game of the season.
Nash jumps up: One of the bright spots for the Bruins was the play of Nash, who saw time on the right wing alongside Krejci and delivered a slick cross-crease feed to the pivot off the rush on Krejci's second-period tally.
"It's always nice to play with a guys like David. He's obviously a talented player, sees the ice really well, and makes a lot of passes," said Nash. "I thought we generated a couple chances…it wasn't sustained, it wasn't enough until the last five minutes we had some quality looks around their net, but it had to be fifty-five minutes before that."
Video: EDM@BOS: Krejci buries Nash's dish off the rush
No goalie decision: Cassidy would not name a goalie for Wednesday's game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
"We generally don't announce that this far ahead of time. Tuukka, he's a world-class goaltender," said Cassidy. "He's going to get his wins. Hopefully whoever is in there Wednesday, we are going to get a good chance to win. We have a good hockey team coming in here, so we'll rest for the day and then get back to work Tuesday. We'll have a better idea then."
Video: EDM@BOS: Rask sprawls in crease to deny Oilers
Cehlarik lost for a month: Before the game, the Bruins announced that winger Peter Cehlarik would miss at least a month with a lower-body injury suffered against the Penguins on Friday. It's a tough break for a player who has struggled with injuries over the last two seasons.
"He's a real pro for a young kid," said Cehlarik. "He's in there working on his craft every day, one of the first ones to the rink. Always working on his game. Finds some traction here and then has another injury. But part of the game is you have to be resilient. It's serous enough he's going to miss some time, but I don't think it's going to be anywhere near a season ender.
"So he'll get his chance hopefully down the road again. But yeah, I do feel for him. He's a good young kid that deserves a break."
Ryan Spooner also missed the game, leading to Matt Beleskey and Jordan Szwarz rejoining the lineup.