OTTAWA - Patrice Bergeron conceded that the Bruins played right into the hands of the Ottawa Senators on Thursday night.
The Senators were keen on clogging up the neutral zone by sitting back and waiting for Boston to make mistakes. And that's exactly how things played out.
After David Pastrnak scored the game's opening goal late in the first period, the Bruins allowed three consecutive goals caused by poor puck management and tough decision-making, en route to a 3-1 loss to Ottawa at the Canadian Tire Centre.
"I think we played right into what they wanted," said Bergeron. "We gave them the turnovers that they wanted in the neutral zone and they capitalized on that. It's a team that thrives on that.
"They've got a lot of skill but also play a system of sitting back and waiting for us to be impatient and make mistakes."
Video: BOS Recap: Bruins come up short against Senators, 3-1
Bruins coach Claude Julien did not want to blame the loss on the Senators' defensive scheme, but rather his team's mistakes with the puck.
"Tonight was an issue because we weren't good," said Julien, whose team has now lost two in a row. "As much as I'd like to give them credit for the neutral zone, I have to really blame ourselves for how poor we were with the puck.
"We've been a better team than that. It's disappointing that tonight, in an important game like this, we came out with probably one of our worst efforts in probably a month.
"I didn't like our game tonight, decision making, puck management. I would say there were a lot of no-shows as well. Those are things that can't happen in these kinds of games."
Leading, 1-0, almost midway through the second, the Bruins began to see their mistakes prove costly, when Mark Stone slipped in all alone on Tuukka Rask and buried one to tie the game at 13:23.
Boston escaped the second without allowing any further damage, but the Senators came out strong in the third to take control. After a turnover in the slot, the puck trickled out to Chris Wideman, who fired a shot from the point that deflected off Dominic Moore and past Rask to give Ottawa a 2-1 lead at 13:32.
Just over three minutes later, the Senators made it a 3-1 lead. Following another turnover, this one just inside the Ottawa blue line, the Senators turned up ice with pace, resulting in Kyle Turris beating Rask at 10:16.
"I always try to be ready for the turnovers," said Rask, who made 23 saves. "But today we gave the puck away a lot. I think we got a little spread out at times, too.
"We turned it over and there were no numbers coming back and caused scoring chances."
Now, the Bruins must turn their focus to Friday night, when they cap off a back-to-back by hosting the Calgary Flames at TD Garden.
"We've just got to forget about this as quick as possible and get ready for tomorrow. That's the only thing we can do," said Rask. "A lot of times when you play and win you want to carry it over, but we definitely don't want to carry this over to tomorrow."
The last time Pastrnak missed time (he was suspended for two games at the end of October), he returned to score in four consecutive games. After sitting out for three games with an undisclosed injury, the 20-year-old was back in the lineup Thursday night against Ottawa and, once again, wasted little time getting on the scoresheet.
After firing an off-angle shot from the left corner, Brad Marchand charged to the net for the rebound. He poked the puck free to Pastrnak, who corralled the puck in the slot, spun around, and sent a backhander past Craig Anderson to give the Bruins a 1-0 lead - on the power play - with 10 seconds to go in the first.
"I knew I had an empty net, for sure, so I was focusing on trying to get it as fast as I could," said Pastrnak, who converted on his lone shot of the night. "Lucky it got in."
Video: BOS@OTT: Pastrnak nets a nifty spinning PPG
Miller Back, Too
Kevan Miller played his first game of the season after missing 19 games with a broken hand. Miller (one shot on goal, three hits) played 16:50 of ice time and was paired with Joe Morrow.
"I felt pretty good right away," said Miller. "My legs felt good, wind felt good, have to get the timing back and the decision making."
Playing on the Holiday
The game in Ottawa marked the first time the Bruins have played on Thanksgiving since 1989. It was the first time they have played on the road on the holiday since 1950.