DETROIT - The Bruins lost their second straight on Sunday night, surrendering four unanswered goals in the third period en route to a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Detroit Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena.
Boston led, 3-2, after a three-goal second period, but allowed two goals in eight seconds in the second minute of the third - including one to Anthony Mantha, who had a hat trick and five points - and was unable to right the ship after that. It was the Bruins' third loss in four games and dropped them to 5-5-0 in their last 10.
"We don't want to finish like this, we want to finish strong," said Jaroslav Halak, who made 22 saves. "That wasn't our game. We all know that."
After the Bruins stormed back from a 2-0 first-period deficit with three straight goals in the middle frame - one each from Jake DeBrusk, Brad Marchand, and David Backes - they admitted that a bit of complacency might have set in ahead of the third.
"Maybe we got a little overconfident there," said Marchand, whose goal was his 35th of the season. "But they made some plays and we were a little loose. Got to be a little tighter there, especially against a team with that kind of speed and skill. You can't give them that much time and space. They took advantage of it."
Video: BOS Recap: Bruins falter in 3rd to fall to Red Wings
Though they have their postseason spot wrapped up, the Bruins are still fighting with the Toronto Maple Leafs for second place in the Atlantic Division - and with that, home ice in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With just three games remaining in the regular season, Boston knows it must quickly shore up its play.
"I don't know if that's complacency with being in the playoffs," said Backes. "But I certainly think that there's momentum carried into the playoffs and we've got three games regardless of our opponent to tune ourselves up so that we hit the ground running in the playoffs.
"I think we need to take a step back, take a breath, and know what kind of effort it takes to win in this league and have 20 guys on that page when we come back and play the Columbus Blue Jackets [on Tuesday night]."
Video: Bruins react after 6-3 loss in Detroit
One of the lone bright spots for the Bruins was Marchand's shorthanded tally that tied the game, 2-2, midway through the second period. Patrice Bergeron made a dazzling backhanded feed around a diving Mantha and Marchand finished it off with a one-timer from one knee.
It was Marchand's 26th career shorthanded goal, breaking a tie with Bruins legend Rick Middleton for the franchise's all-time mark.
"It's nice personally," said Marchand. "There's been a lot of great players that played for the organization. It's great to have and it will be nice to have down the road when I retire."
Video: BOS@DET: Marchand buries SHG to set franchise mark
The Bruins were without winger Chris Wagner, who was sidelined with a lower-body injury. Wagner, named the team's 7th Player Award winner on Saturday, was termed day-to-day in an announcement just before puck drop.
With Wagner out, Karson Kuhlman re-entered the lineup and played with Jake DeBrusk and David Krejci for most of the night. Danton Heinen took Wagner's place on the third line, alongside Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle.
David Krejci had two assists against the Red Wings, giving him 50 for the season, which is one shy of his career-high 51 set in 2008-09.
Kevan Miller also picked up an assist (his seventh of the season) when Backes tipped home his wrister from the point in the second period. Miller returned after missing the last 16 games with an upper-body injury and was a plus-1 in just over 15 minutes of ice time.
Video: BOS@DET: Krejci connects with DeBrusk for sweet tally