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Bruins can't overcome mistakes in Game 2 loss to Blue Jackets

Giveaways, penalties, sloppy play help Columbus even series

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

BOSTON -- Of all the players to blame this loss on -- a loss that extended from Saturday night to early Sunday morning as it launched into the second overtime -- it was the usually faultless Patrice Bergeron who was ready to take on the mantle.

"It's on me," Bergeron said. "Obviously, try to avoid that penalty, and that's it."

The penalty, for tripping, came at 2:59 of the second overtime between the Boston Bruins and the Columbus Blue Jackets, a penalty that led to Matt Duchene's game-winner 43 seconds into the power play, allowed the Blue Jackets to touch off a celebration of their 3-2 win, and enabled them to head back to Columbus with the best-of-7 Eastern Conference Second Round tied at 1-1.

 

[RELATED: Complete Bruins vs. Blue Jackets series coverage]

 

"Just the stick got caught, obviously," Bergeron said. "It's one of those plays that you make many times and it's not going to happen. But my stick shouldn't be there at this point in the game."

Bergeron had caught Seth Jones by the Columbus crease, with the Blue Jackets' defenseman going down, resulting in a delayed penalty. It was an easy play to point to as one mistake made in a game full of them, and the one most directly responsible for the Bruins' loss. 

But it was far from the only one. 

In the end, the loss might have been as much their own fault as that of the Blue Jackets, a game in which Boston repeatedly sent blind drop passes backward, turned the puck over, and made uncharacteristic errors that led to Columbus chances. 

Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm2: Blue Jackets, Bruins take it to 2OT

So, was it self-inflicted?

"Yeah," Bergeron said. "I think it's a fair assessment. Two penalties and then the other one is, again, something that we can take care of the puck a little better maybe. So, yeah, in a way, it is. That being said, in playoff series it's always about looking forward and making sure that we rectify those things. 

"But a lot of it is about playing smarter."

He wasn't alone in feeling that way.

Game 1 hero Charlie Coyle, who made up for a turnover that led to a goal in that game with two of his own, had another giveaway that directly resulted in a goal in Game 2. 

With the Bruins leading 2-1 in the second period, Coyle made a blind, backhand pass into the slot that was intercepted by Jones. He passed it to Artemi Panarin for the forward's second goal of the game, an impressively angled shot from the bottom of the right circle. 

That tied the game at 8:01. 

"I think everything they got, we gave it to them," Coyle said. "I mean, they worked, obviously. They worked on the power play and the power play turnovers, and they capitalized. Especially a team like that, you give it to them like that and they're going to make you pay, and they did."

Video: CBJ@BOS, Gm2: Panarin roofs second goal of the game

The Blue Jackets' first goal was also the result of a turnover, this one on the power play after a Brad Marchand cross-checking penalty following the end of the first period. That led to a Panarin goal at 1:03 of the second period, equaling the goal by Matt Grzelcyk on the power play at 7:50 of the first. Defenseman Zdeno Chara got the puck and attempted a clear, which landed right on the stick of Cam Atkinson. 

Eight seconds later, the puck would be in the net, courtesy of Panarin. 

It was not the intelligent, smooth, well-oiled hockey that the Bruins have played down the stretch. They exhibited the same tendencies a couple of times in the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs, but cleaned it up well enough to win Game 6 and 7 and advance.

But it crept back into their play in Game 2 against the Blue Jackets.

"We're forcing plays and not executing the plays that we should," Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said. "At the end of the day, all three goals they scored, we had the puck at our stick. The PK one we didn't get a clear. … The second one by Panarin, clearly miscommunication, turnover deep in our end, about to go on a power play [a double minor by Josh Anderson for high sticking], and changes momentum. Then the last one, we did have a chance to clear and they kept it in.

"But I thought we cleaned it up after two periods. I thought our overtimes were excellent in terms of how we defended."

Video: Blue Jackets defeat Bruins in 2OT and tie series 1-1

They might have been better, but they weren't good enough. And then, at an inopportune moment, the player least likely to make a mistake made a mistake. 

It's a lesson the Bruins need to learn by Tuesday, when Game 3 looms in Columbus (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, CBC, TVAS). They need to limit the mistakes, to clean up their act, to stop harming their own cause. 

"If we stay out of the box, play 5-on-5 and take care of the puck, I think we'd give ourselves a better chance," Coyle said. 

Hard to argue with that. 

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