BOSTON -- The Bruins didn’t play poorly in a pair of tight, playoff-style divisional losses to the Maple Leafs and Senators in back-to-back nights, but they didn’t play well enough to win either.
Clearly the Bruins ran into a hot goaltender in Craig Anderson and an Ottawa team that was sick and tired of losing after dropping four games in a row, and couldn’t overcome their desperation and puck-stopping in a 3-2 loss at TD Garden. Coupled with their 4-2 loss in Toronto on Monday night when a couple of questionable penalty calls did them some major harm, and the Bruins are feeling understandably empty coming out of the last two nights with zero points.
So now the Bruins have a single point lead over a Maple Leafs team that has two games in hand against them, and they’ve got a couple of must wins against the Lightning and Islanders to close out a big week that’s gone bust thus far.
“We were right there until two minutes to go where even though we weren’t scoring, we were in a position to get points. Tonight, again, a breakdown right after we scored so I think the focus has to be when you’re having tough luck around the net, you need to get points,” said Bruce Cassidy. “Maybe these games end up 1-1, 2-2, they’re going into shootouts or overtime and you accumulate your points that way. I think that’s where the last two games have been disappointing. You know, we should have had points. It may not have been wins, but we should have been there at the end and playing 65 minutes or whatever it took to finish it.”
Certainly the Bruins are left wondering exactly what just happened after out-shooting the Senators by a 36-22 margin while effectively taming Guy Boucher's 1-3-1 trap. By all rights they should have won this time around but instead never held a lead against Ottawa during the entire game.
With nine games remaining in the season and 82 points, the Bruins probably need five or six wins to feel comfortable about their chances of securing a playoff spot when the dust settles in a few weeks. That means starting another winning streak to close out this week and stop the losing dead in its tracks while discouraging teams like Tampa Bay and the Isles that they don’t have a real shot at passing by the B’s for a playoff place.
“You’ve got to start the winning streak somehow, at some point. It’s been like this throughout the season. We have these games where you deserve more than you got, and then that’s not the case. But you have to stay with it and good things will happen. That’s just the reality of it,” said Tuukka Rask, who was beaten by three redirections from the Sens on Tuesday night. [We need to] keep playing like we’re playing. Score one more goal than the opponent does.
“I think at this point of the season, there’s no time to kind of feel sorry for ourselves. We just go out there and make something happen and the results will happen. If they don’t, then it sucks, but we just have to believe that they will.”
Belief can become that much easier if the Bruins can just start packing on the points again after a pair of regulation losses to key opponents that left the Black and Gold with a big, fat nothing for their mostly satisfactory efforts.