BOSTON - The Bruins have been searching for more offense of late. And on Thursday night they got it - at a cost.
While Boston's secondary scoring emerged against the Canucks, the Bruins' defensive game deteriorated in an 8-5 setback to Vancouver at TD Garden. The eight goals allowed was a season-high for the B's and their worst defensive effort since a 7-0 loss to Washington on Opening Night.
"It's frustrating because against Dallas I thought we were close, and you could see it tonight. We did get five goals," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said of his team's offensive effort. "We talk about [the secondary scoring] supplying some offense…it's frustrating because I didn't see it coming - eight goals against. Other than Opening Night - pretty reliable defensively, for the most part."
Entering the game, the Bruins had allowed just 31 goals, the third-lowest total in the National Hockey League. And with Jaroslav Halak - the league leader in save percentage - between the pipes to start the game, Boston expected a much better defensive performance.
"It's not our game, it's not our style, it's not how we play. And when you score that many goals and you still lose a game, it's the last thing you want to have," said Patrice Bergeron, who scored his eighth goal of the season. "We've got to be a lot better, we've got to realize that it starts defensively and I'm talking about us as a unit - forwards included - and we've got to go from there."
Video: Cassidy, DeBrusk, Krejci, Rask and Halak talk loss
Bergeron appeared to put the Bruins in a good spot with his goal just 36 seconds into the second period providing a 2-1 lead. But Vancouver responded with four of the game's next five goals - two from old friend Loui Eriksson - to open up a 5-3 advantage and chase Halak (14 saves) from the game.
"It's the way that we didn't defend, the way that we didn't take care of the puck in our zone and we gave it right back to them," said Bergeron. "And obviously you'd like that as a forward in the O-zone, to get it right back, so we made it too easy for them."
Jake DeBrusk's second of the game pulled the Bruins within a goal with 2:42 to play in the second, but Erik Gudbransson answered with 34 seconds to go in the period to restore Vancouver's two-goal lead.
Boston had a golden opportunity to get back in the game with a 5-on-3 advantage midway through the third, but a shorthanded goal from Bo Horvat - off a turnover from Tuukka Rask - with 11:20 remaining effectively sealed the deal, giving the Canucks a 7-4 lead.
"You expect to score on those," said Cassidy. "We've been pretty good at that. Unfortunately, it didn't happen for us, like a lot of things. They were able to kill it. The shorty, again that's puck play that could've been avoided I think. We score there, who knows?
"[David] Krejci hits a crossbar at the end of the second period. It's 5-4 at the time, I think - it makes it 5-5. Instead we go down 6-4, so I think that was as big a turning point as anything during the game to be honest with you. Now you go into it tied going into the third, but it didn't work out that way."
Missing the Net
Halak had his worst performance in Black & Gold, allowing five goals on 19 shots before being pulled by Cassidy early in the second. Rask relieved him and was pinned with the loss after allowing three goals on 14 shots.
"It's one of those nights that the pucks just found a way to get in," said Halak. "Obviously, we have to be better, we have to be better as a group and that's the bottom line. I guess we have to regroup quickly, we have two tough games [this weekend]. We have to look at the video tomorrow and go from there."
"Long season," said Rask. "Sometimes you let in more goals than other night - tonight, more than I would have liked, probably more than Jar would have liked. Moving on, that's it."
DeBrusk Pots Two
There was some good to come out of the B's loss to Vancouver as DeBrusk notched his second two-goal game of the season. Both tallies were deflections that came with the winger - who also added an assist - planted at the top of the crease.
The first, off a feed from David Krejci, tied the game, 3-3, at the 9-minute mark of the second, and his second goal came off a Torey Krug pass on the power play to bring Boston within 5-4 with 2:42 to go in the middle frame.
"It was nice to capitalize, but saying that doesn't really mean much if you don't win," said DeBrusk. "Take the positives from this game, take the lessons that we need to learn to get back at it and go full force."
Video: VAN@BOS: DeBrusk scores second goal on power play
On the Board
Another silver lining for the B's was the team's overall secondary scoring, which included both Matt Grzelcyk (goal, assist) and Danton Heinen picking up their first goals of the season.
"I'd be lying if I said it didn't feel good," said Heinen. "It definitely eases the mind a little but just getting that one. It's tough, you want to get that first one in a win, but that's the way it is."
David Krejci picked up three assists, giving him his third multi-point game of the season.
Video: VAN@BOS: Heinen redirects puck past Markstrom for PPG