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Loss to Avs Stings, But Serves Up More for Bruins to Build On

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

BOSTON - David Krejci knows well what winning a game with less than a second feels like, having stolen the Bruins a win early in the 2013-14 season with 0.8 left on the clock.

On Monday afternoon, those emotions were flipped, as he watched Daniel Briere find the back of the net with just 0.4 left in regulation to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-1 win over Boston.

The Bruins dropped to 1-3-0 on the season.

"It's tough, you know, but nothing you can do about it," Krejci said from the Bruins' locker room postgame. "We thought the last minute, that it was going to overtime, but you've got to play till the last second, and they scored - so it is what it is."

The Black and Gold were coming off two efforts that they deemed "unacceptable" by their high standards, with the latest 4-0 loss to the Caps serving as a tipping point, especially for the Bruins' leadership group.

"It's going to sting a lot more, especially within the last second of the game," said defensemen Matt Bartkowski, who slotted into the lineup in place of Kevan Miller. "More importantly, there were a lot of things we did well and I thought we could have been rewarded a little bit more, but there's a lot to build on, which is a key thing, and what we need to focus on right now."

Bartkowski wasn't in the lineup for the Bruins' first three games, and neither was Krejci, who returned from injury against the Avs. But that didn't stop them from feeling the effects of the Bruins' slow start to 2014-15.

This game was important. The way they lost stung, but the game was a significant upgrade from the Bruins' previous two performances.

"It was tight, there wasn't much room out there," said Krejci. "But at the end, they come out with the win - so it's frustrating, but we've got to take positive things out of the game and move on and try to build on it in Detroit - and we've got to get a win."

Before Briere potted the game-winner with his 300th NHL goal, there was havoc in the Bruins' zone in front of Svedberg.

The Bruins' backup was suiting up in his first game of the season and just the second NHL game of his career.

Blown defensive coverage left Briere wide open at the top of the blue paint.

"I didn't see the guy behind me - I got too high and they got a shot through, and you see what happened," said Bartkowski, who was on the ice paired with Dennis Seidenberg at the end. "I should have been lower there."

It's not that the Bruins made a slew of mistakes - it's that the ones they made were glaring, and ended up in the back of the net.

"A lot of the times we shot ourselves in the foot by making bad decisions. We were just not playing the way we usually do but today I think we had a good game. A few hiccups here and there but overall everybody worked hard and we played a decent game.

Colorado's first goal, at 3:28 into the second period, came after the Bruins iced the puck. Boston's fourth line was matched up against Matt Duchene's line. Jamie McGinn came off the wall and beat Svedberg between his glove side and the post for the Avs' first goal of 2014-15.

Svedberg wishes he had that one back, but he was solid in his season debut, making 28 stops on 30 shots.

"Sveddy played well," Head Coach Claude Julien said postgame. "You’re going to say – well, the first goal trickled under his arm. It did, but he made some pretty big saves after that to keep us in the game. So I think he gave us exactly what we need from a backup goaltender: he gave us a chance to win."

One of Svedberg's best saves came later in the second, off a two-on-one rush, challenging Duchene at the top of the crease and robbing him of the go-ahead.

Boston's lone goal came from Loui Eriksson on the power play at 7:50 into the second. The score would remain tied until Briere's buzzer beater. Colorado received a "no goal" call with 12:47 left in the third period, due to the puck being hit with a high stick.

The Bruins had their own chances to get ahead, firing 28 shots on Reto Berra (plus 12 shot attempts that were blocked and 11 that missed the mark).

Every line had sustained pressure and generated chances, a change from the Bruins' previous two losses, though the finish wasn't there.

The lineup had a few tweaks, with Krejci getting back in and Seth Griffith coming up from Providence and making his NHL debut. The fourth line was comprised of Daniel Paille, Ryan Spooner and Jordan Caron. Bobby Robins and Matt Fraser were healthy scratches.

"It was better. David coming back in our lineup, you saw Looch being a better player tonight as well and I thought [Seth] Griffith handled himself well," said Julien. "So we had better balance. Even on our fourth line, even that goal against, it certainly wasn’t the forwards' fault on that one but they did a decent job. So we had better balance."

Griffith adjusted fairly quickly in his first NHL game with Krejci and Lucic, helping balance out the rest of the lineup. The line generated three quality scoring chances in the third period with the Bruins' searching for the go-ahead goal.

"We’ll see if he can build on that stuff, but I thought he got better and he skated well," Julien said of Griffith. "He made some plays. So, to me, I thought our lineup was an upgrade tonight."

The ending stung, but the Bruins will be looking more at the meat of their game on Monday.

"I think it was a better effort. I think there was better concentration," said Julien. "I think at the end of the day, some of those crucial mistakes came back to bite us. That’s the story of this afternoon’s game and it’s unfortunate."

"It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I saw some improvement in our team overall and I saw some positive things happen."

At both ends of the ice, the Bruins still aren't entirely in sync the way they want to be. But as Game No. 5 approaches, with a road trip through Detroit, Montreal and Buffalo on the schedule this week, it presents three more opportunities to find their game.

"I think it’s a matter of confidence right now, it’s just us believing in ourselves that we can win hockey games," said Seidenberg. "Right now, we're gripping our sticks a little tight."

"It’s not the way we want to start, but I think we played a good game today, we have to take that positive out of it and build on that."

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