Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien is not seeing the kind of 60-minute, consistent effort that the Bruins put in before the start of the new year.
And although the B's are 4-2 in 2012 (and 25-5-1 since the end of October), everyone in Black & Gold understands that the current trend of slow starts, better second periods and frenetic thrid stanzas needs to stop.
"We got knocked off the puck way too much tonight, and when they got it back they knew what to do with it," said Julien. "Give them a lot of credit, I thought they played hard, with a lot of energy and they certain had more than we did.
"We didn’t have the energy we normally have, and whether it’s the rest or not we have to get used to this type of schedule.
"It’s disappointing cause we didn’t have a lot of guys going tonight and it resulted in the loss," he said.
Boston had the lead twice, but couldn't maintain their momentum.
"It shows in the result," said assistant captain Patrice Bergeron
. "When we got that first goal, we have to keep the momentum but we gave it away.
"Same thing with that second goal, we came back again and even though it was even for most of that third period, they score a big goal at the end and it hurt us."
Julien pointed to the Carolina's compete level in his explanation for the B's loss.
"You have to give them credit," repeated Julien. "They were back checking hard and stripping us from the puck.
"What we normally do to teams, they did to us very well tonight," he said. "We’re a team that can only be a good team when we’re good in those areas and we weren’t very good tonight."