Against the Maple Leafs, Phil Kessel and company are usually kept on tight watch. The middle of the ice gets closed off. When odd-man rushes happen, Tuukka Rask - with his 1.64 goals-against average against Toronto in tow - makes the stops.
But the Bruins defied their own odds on Wednesday night, dropping a 6-1 decision to the Leafs at the Air Canada Centre.
"We were just terrible all around," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said from outside the visiting team room after the game, noting that he didn't have enough time to talk about the lesson learned in the loss.
Because of that fact, his time speaking with media finished about 60 seconds after that statement.
"As a coach, there's not much you can say on a night like tonight," Julien said. "We just stunk the joint out."
Down 1-0 after the first, the Bruins allowed Phil Kessel to pot his second of the night just 18 seconds into the middle frame. A big rebound was fired past Tuukka Rask 1:16 later. Kessel was then tripped up in the Bruins' offensive zone, and a power play produced a 4-0 lead for the Leafs 1:58 after that, prompting Niklas Svedberg to replace Rask between the pipes.
James van Riemsdyk added the 5-0 dagger on the man advantage before the second period was halfway gone.
Dennis Seidenberg chipped away and reduced the deficit to 5-1 before the end of the second, but 6-1 would be the final as the Leafs added another power play goal in the third.
The last time the Bruin lost a game by five goals came in November of 2013, when they dropped a 6-1 decision in Detroit the night before Thanksgiving.
"We've got a game [Thursday] night and you certainly can't cut down your bench if you play the next night, and if I did, I don't think I would be able to put anybody out there that deserved to be out there," Julien said.
"So we just stunk the joint and right now, it's a matter of moving on here and starting getting ready for [Thursday], because there's nothing great to talk about today."
"It was terrible. Ugly. One of the worst, right from the drop of the puck," said alternate captain Chris Kelly. "We didn't compete, we didn't work, we didn't make plays, we didn't defend. That's why it was 6-1."
Boston's penalty kill gave up a season-high three goals. Kessel had free reign most of the night and nearly notched a hat trick. Rask allowed four goals on 16 shots before being replaced by Svedberg after the three-goal barrage in the first 3:32 of the second period that put Toronto up 4-0. With a 10-2-0 record against the Leafs heading into the night, Rask wasn't pleased with his effort. The team in front of him certainly wasn't, either.
"Our feet weren't moving, our compete level wasn't where it needed to be, and we weren't doing any of the little things that brought us success and got us on the right step moving forward," Kelly said. "So that's what happens when you don't play well."
The Bruins saw their five-game win streak snapped. They hadn't played perfect hockey during the stretch, but they were finding ways to win. They had won six of their past seven, including a 4-1 win over the Leafs on October 25 that started the streak.
"It's definitely tough to explain," said Patrice Bergeron. "It's definitely unacceptable, especially with the way we've been playing lately, to come out that flat and not being able to regroup at some point and get going is really hard to explain."
"So there's not many words that can be said right now."
The Bruins found themselves down 1-0 just 6:46 into the first period.
After a Joe Morrow bid deflected into the netting, Bergeron lost the draw in the offensive zone. The breakout looked like it was going to be easily handled by Zach Trotman, but the puck took a bounce off the top of the boards in front of the Leafs' bench and right onto Kessel's stick as he was racing by.
Kessel ripped a shot past Rask off the two-on-one that started a very long night for those in Black and Gold.
"The start of the game, they were ready and took it to us," Kelly said.
Despite the slow start, and a Leafs' surge after Kessel's first tally, the Bruins went to the second only down by a goal.
"If you're not moving your feet, and if you're not doing a lot of the little things, you don't have a chance," said Kelly.
"We were disorganized in our own zone," said Reilly Smith. "It started from there - we weren't breaking the puck out cleanly and hemmed in our zone too much. Our game pretty much fell apart, so it started from the first couple of shifts and it just got worse."
The Bruins' team game and respect for the system is what had kept them afloat for a 6-1-0 record after losing Zdeno Chara to his knee injury for four to six weeks. They're also still without Kevan Miller (shoulder), and David Krejci (undisclosed) has now missed four of the past five games. Torey Krug isn't 100 percent yet after a broken finger, but fill-in David Warsofsky is out with a groin injury.
The players don't pay attention to that list, though. It doesn't matter which opponent they're up against, or if the game's in the comforts of home or on the road.
"It just goes to show, no matter who you have in the lineup, if you don't respect your system and don't play the right way, things won't go your way," Milan Lucic had said prior to the loss.
Boston's awareness was lacking, especially with Toronto's top players. The decision-making was slow, and that led to fumbling pucks and not being able to make a first pass.
"When you're going through that, you want to get back to basics and keep things simple and in the end, nothing worked out," said Smith.
"I think you focus on going out there and doing your job, regardless of who you're playing with or what's going on," said Kelly. "Just going out there, working hard and doing your job, and if you do that night in, night out, you're going to have success, but no one did that tonight."
"I think that's the only thing we did as a team - we all played poorly."
Julien tried different methods to try and spark something in the team, calling a timeout when Toronto made it 3-0, pulling Rask after the three-goal flurry, and jumbling the lines in the second period.
"You know, coaches are trying to do whatever they can to get their team going, and we didn't respond," Kelly said.
The Bruins are hoping they have a short memory with this one, as they regroup to face the Canadiens in Montreal on Thursday night (7:30 p.m. ET, NESN, 98.5 The Sports Hub) to finish off their back-to-back.
"We've been through adversity before and I think we have to realize it's going to happen during the season and we have to fight through it and find ways to come out on top," said Bergeron. "So it's definitely hard to explain and we have to bounce back for sure, and at least we can do that soon."
"I think we need to look in the mirror and realize we can't play like that," said Kelly. "We need to bounce back and have a way better effort [in Montreal]."
"We'll get an opportunity to go out and redeem ourselves."