Boston, MA –
|Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara (33), of Slovakia, dives toward the puck as Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Steve Mason, right, makes a save in the final seconds of the third period of an NHL hockey game in Boston, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2010. The Blue Jackets beat the Bruins 3-2. At top left is Blue Jackets defenseman Jan Hejda, of the Czech Republic; at bottom left is Blue Jackets left wing Raffi |
“It seems to be that it’s going to be a tough battle no matter who we’re playing or how well they’re playing,” said Bruins forward Blake Wheeler of the Bruins hard luck 3-2 setback in the TD Garden. “It doesn’t matter. We have to embrace the challenge every night.
“We’re less concerned about the opposition and more concerned about how to get this thing where it needs to be because it’s not there.”
It just hasn’t been easy for the Black & Gold.
With injuries mounting, and despite an auspicious start in a game that saw the B’s out shoot the Blue Jackets 34-25, the Bruins were unable to stave off Columbus long enough to get the win in front of the sell-out Garden crowd of 17,565.
A quick goal by Michael Ryder was answered by Columbus’ Chris Clark 10 minutes later. Then Patrice Bergeron
netted the only goal of the second, to put the B’s ahead 2-1 going into the second break.
But when the team returned after the intermission, the B’s momentum disappeared as Columbus scored two unanswered goals by Antoine Vermette (7:16) R.J. Umberger (18:44)
“We tightened up,” head coach Claude Julien. “But that’s where we’re at right now.
“When you haven’t won on a consistent basis, it’s a normal tendency.
“We kind of hung in there and had some chances, but the ending wasn’t meant to be.”
Julien was able to point out several bright spots in an otherwise somber outcome -- specifically the success of the new Michael Ryder/Trent Whitfield
/Miroslav Satan line, who were +1 last night.
“The individuals that were on that line just work so hard and they made things happen,” Julien said. “Michael was probably the best we’ve seen him in a long time and Whits made that first goal happen obviously with his second effort, and Satan’s been pretty involved.”
“That line was a nice surprise for us tonight.”
Julien also took note of Milan Lucic
’s performance. The big left wing, who is still getting back into his game after being out with a high-ankle sprain, played a strong physical game, which included a scrap against the Jackets Jared Boll.
“I know the outcome is disappointing, but we still saw a lot of good things from players that have been maybe struggling lately, that showed us more tonight,” Julien said. “So if they can continue to do that and do that next game, then we’re definitely going to get ourselves out of this.”
As they look toward tomorrow’s matinee rematch against the Ottawa Senators – who bested the B’s 5-1 on Monday -- the Bruins will once again strive to shake off their slump.
“To feel sorry or not go out there and work as hard is going to make it worse,” Julien said. “We know that. We’re professionals.
“We need to act like professionals, and professionals will come back and play even harder.”