But that didn't stop them from grinding through, and coming back multiple times, before ultimately falling to the Senators, 4-3.
The Bruins announced prior to the game that Dennis Seidenberg, who left the third period in Boston on Friday night with an injury, is now out the remainder of the 2013-14 season with a torn ACL/MCL in his right knee that will take 6-8 months for recovery.
Zdeno Chara was a late surprise scratch in Ottawa, termed "day-to-day" with an undisclosed injury. Meanwhile, Dougie Hamilton still remains out with a lower-body injury, though he's on the mend.
"[Chara] came this morning, and just couldn't play tonight. That decision was made after the morning skate," Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien told media in Ottawa following the game.
In their places, Zach Trotman made his NHL debut, with David Warsofsky also filling in, once again, on a depleted Bruins' back end.
"Our guys battled hard," said Julien, whose squad never led in the game, but kept working their way back, first from being down 1-0, then 3-1, before tying it up 3-3 off of Warsofsky's first NHL goal six minutes into the third.
"It would have been nice to come out of here with at least a point, I thought we deserved that much with how hard we competed to get ourselves back into the game, but unfortunately that wasn't the case."
"We had a lot of stuff happening today, a lot of scrambling to get players here on time and everything else, so with all of that happening, I think our guys responded well."
Daniel Paille had tied it up 1-1 with his fourth of the season in the first period, before a bouncing puck from the Senators found its way past Tuukka Rask.
The Sens made it 3-1 with a shorthanded tally just 29 seconds into the second, and Chad Johnson then filled in for Rask, who was starting on back-to-back nights against Ottawa.
Later in the period, Jarome Iginla tapped in his 12th of the season to bring Boston within one, before Warsofsky dazzled through the neutral zone and ripped in the first of his four-game NHL career in the third period, to tie it up 3-3, before Bobby Ryan put up the go-head on a breakaway.
"I was just trying to get my feet moving and get through the neutral zone and kind of pulled up, and it’s not always pretty, but it went in and that’s all you can ask for," Warsofsky told reporters postgame.
The defenseman had been running on adrenaline. He arrived around 1:00 p.m. to Ottawa to join the team, after a flight from Boston. Sleep was at a minimum though, as he and Nick Johnson drove from Glens Falls, New York (where the P-Bruins were set to play the Adirondack Phantoms on Saturday night) back to Boston, arriving at 2:30 Saturday morning before catching their flight.
Johnson was also called up on an emergency basis, filling in for Carl Soderberg, who stayed back in Boston to be evaluated for symptoms after getting "dinged up" following a hit on Friday night at TD Garden (according to Julien).
"It was a little bit hectic," said Warsofsky, "But I think when you’re getting called up to go play in the NHL, your adrenaline kind of takes over and you kind of forget about the travel."
Trotman's first NHL experience may trump even that. By the time he arrived from Glens Falls, he joined the Bruins halfway through warmups, just in time for line rushes.
"Yeah, it was really close," Trotman told reporters. Luckily, there was no traffic heading over the border.
He was paired with fellow P-Bruin Warsofsky. They now have a combined five NHL games of experience.
"I woke up in Adirondack, went to pregame skate [Saturday] morning, came out and coach told me I had to head back to the hotel and get my stuff ready in case I got the call-up today," said Trotman, tirelessly recounting his day.
"So I went back, kind of rushed, got the stuff packed and then I ended up getting called up at about 12:30. Took an hour for us to find a way to get from Glens Falls up to Ottawa. Ended up taking a cab about four and a half hours to the border, got in a car service up there and got to the rink about five minutes before warmups started."
"So it’s been a whirlwind; it still kind of seems a little surreal."
Despite all of that, Trotman (who impressed during the preseason at training camp) logged 16:41 in his debut, including 3:06 on the power play. He put up two shots on goal, nearly giving the Bruins their go-ahead right before Ryan scored the game-winner for Ottawa.
"I thought they moved the puck well tonight on the back end, held their own, did a great job, and certainly was happy with their performance," said Julien. "Some of those guys that flew in, got in at 1 o'clock, and Trots got in just at 6:30 when warmup was starting. So probably a five-hour drive, so for him to go out there and play the way he did tonight, kudos to those guys."
The Bruins battled, with a still battered front end and now, back end.
Before Ryan's tally, Iginla nearly put the Bruins on top, but the puck had kicked off his skate and in, making it a no-goal call in the third period.
Boston then powered through nearly two minutes of 6-on-4 time until the final buzzer.
Without key pieces in the lineup, their backbone missing on the blueline in Chara, and one of their warriors done for the season, this one wasn't the result the Bruins wanted - but it was the effort they needed.
"Our team is not discouraged," said Julien, of the loss Seidenberg leaves. "We're certainly going to miss him, he's a good defesneman but there's nobody discouraged in that room. I go back to my first year when we lost [Patrice] Bergeron for the whole year and we just rallied around that and worked that much harder."
"That's what we have to do with that team right now. You compensate by just making sure you work hard and everybody does their job well, and that's the way to compensate for his loss right now."
And so, the Bruins will rally on.