– It was another emotional game for the Bruins. Once again, they were trying to bring a little bit of joy to their fans and the entire city of Boston after a harrowing week.
Despite a 3-2 loss to the East-leading Pittsburgh Penguins, the Black & Gold brought energy and physical play, something that has been missing from the their game recently.
“Yeah, I think we’re back to playing with a bit of an edge, that’s a positive,” said Shawn Thornton after the loss. “I think if we keep building play in that way, things will start going a little bit better for us.
“Obviously they capitalized on a couple of power plays, but as far as five-on-five and for the majority of the game, I thought we played the way we needed to play we just didn’t get the result we wanted.”
“I think that every team tries to play a little more physical and kind of a grinding hockey [at this point in the season],” added B’s captain Zdeno Chara. “We know that that’s more like us, playing that way. We’ve just got to continue to play the same way and keep getting better in certain areas.”
Adam McQuaid and Nathan Horton – who left the game in the first period following a fight with Jarome Iginla and did not return – both dropped the gloves in the first period. And Brad Marchand, who attempted to fight Jussi Jokinen early in the third period, liked to see the team defending each other.
“Yeah, I think so,” Marchand said, when asked if this was the best game the Bruins have played in a while. “We had a lot of emotion, played a physical game, guys were sticking up for each other, and we had a lot of energy out there. Definitely a good game for us.”
B’s Head Coach Claude Julien said after the loss that physical play has been a point of emphasis for his club, who registered 35 hits against the Pens; something they need to start doing more of as the postseason approaches.
“That’s what we’re asking our team to start doing, get that edge back that we’ve had,” said Julien. “It’s a start, but we’ve got to keep that edge, we’ve got to polish off other parts of our game. Like I said, we’ve got to be better around that net area.
“There’s a lot of loose pucks there, just got to be willing to go there and find those pucks and win those battles. There’s not too many pretty goals anymore and it’s all from second and third efforts.”
Playing a more physical style comes at the risk of taking more penalties, and today the B’s took seven, in addition to the two fights. Julien said his team must make sure they are taking “good penalties” and not getting caught up in retaliating.
“There are good penalties that are good penalties,” said the B’s bench boss. “But, obviously, when you get caught retaliating and one guy gets caught it’s obviously not a good penalty.
“Some of those penalties are not good penalties, some of them are maybe from laziness and all of a sudden you’ve got to drag guys down. Depends on the situation. But obviously we didn’t have some great penalties today, we certainly didn’t get the breaks either the other way, that’s for sure.”
Overall, Chara was pleased with his teammates’ emotion and ability to play a controlled, but physical, game.
“I thought we were obviously emotionally attached to the game,” said the Bruins’ captain. “We were physical. I thought we were, for the most part, in control. We just basically played on the edge and [were] always sticking up for each other. It’s just too bad that we didn’t get the result that we wanted.
“But other than that, I like the game that we played. It’s too bad.”