BOSTON – There was zero doubt the undermanned and outgunned Boston Bruins played a much better brand of hockey against the Washington Capitals on Tuesday night than they did in their limp loss to the Canadiens at the Winter Classic.
The offensive attack was much better, the defense was improved around the front of the net and there was a little more intensity to their performance. But nonetheless the Bruins still did eventually fall to the Caps, 3-2, at TD Garden. The Black and Gold attack was missing David Krejci and Brad Marchand just as they were against the Habs, and this time they were also down Adam McQuaid once he was knocked out by a nasty hit from behind in the second period.
It would’ve taken a Herculean effort from the Bruins in order to come out with two points against the Eastern Conference’s best team, and instead Boston predictably fell a little short. Now the B’s have lost five out of their last six games, and currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot as one of the wild card teams.
So while the Bruins weren’t far off a good result against an elite team in the Capitals, it didn’t really matter much to the B’s unless they actually secured the good result.
“There are no moral victories. I can’t criticize the effort our team gave tonight. In the situation we’re in we almost had to play a perfect game to beat [Washington] and I think we gave ourselves a chance there,” said Claude Julien. “I don’t think we ever quit when we were down a goal. [We were] down two and came back into it, and down two again and came back. You know they made a big save on [Zdeno Chara] at the end in order to keep that game from being tied.
“I think our guys tried - really tried - but at the same time you know in this league you got to win hockey games. So we’ve got to be disappointed, and we got to be maybe hungrier for next game so that we can turn things around here. Hopefully the bitterness in our mouth from losing tonight is going to carry into [the start of the road trip] in New Jersey.”
Twice the Bruins scored to close things to within a goal against the Capitals, but they never led in the game while dropping their fifth consecutive game to Washington in what’s become a very one-sided rivalry. It was probably the best game they’ve actually played against the Caps in the last two years, and that’s fairly impressive given the names missing from the Bruins lineup.
But the Bruins weren’t looking for moral victories on the way to losing their fifth game in the last six tries, and simply need points rather a pat on the back with a “good job, good effort” proclamation.