BOSTON – It’s virtually impossible for any hockey club to maintain a high energy burst throughout an entire 82-game schedule, and that means some efforts are a lot more noteworthy than others. The Bruins had four good ones in a row dating back to their West Coast road trip, but that was before throwing out a massive dud on the ice in Sunday night’s 4-2 loss to the struggling Edmonton Oilers at TD Garden.
They were outmuscled and outhit by the Oilers, Edmonton blocked twice as many shots as Boston despite throwing more pucks at the net and got dominated in the second period by the count of a 17-5 shot advantage for the Oilers as they too control of the game. The Bruins finally showed a little urgency in the third period, but the end result, with Tuukka Rask between the pipes, was another middle-of-the-road effort that understandably seemed to annoy their head coach after the game.
“We lacked energy. Obviously, that was very visible to everyone. I don’t think they had a ton early on, either. I think there was an opportunity there to dictate the pace of the game, help with the outcome, and then we do get the power-play goal,” said Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “So, we were fortunate there to make a good play, but that couldn’t kick-start us, in terms of energy, to extend the lead. It’s disappointing. You’re at home. We’ve played well of late. We started well [against the Penguins], but we just didn’t have it [against the Oilers].
“At the end of the day, it’s 2-2 after the second. We have to find a way. Just disappointed in the goal we gave up. We had men – it’s a 3-on- 3, a line that’s good and defensive-minded. I think in the offensive zone we weren’t hard enough, and then coming back into our end. Even though it looks like the D got crossed up and certainly got picked there, but if we come back harder into our zone, they might not get that play. That’s disappointing all around.”
Perhaps it was the Bruins relaxing a bit after pushing their way back into the playoff picture following their four-game winning streak, and maybe there is something to the Bruins playing an emotionally detached game behind their laid back, even-keeled No. 1 goaltender. Whatever the case, it turned into one of those dreadful, low energy losses that could unfortunately turn into big time regret when the Stanley Cup playoff credentials are counted at the end of the season.