Bruins not thrilled with low-scoring Game 5 loss: 'We've just got to be better'

Bruins not thrilled with low-scoring Game 5 loss: 'We've just got to be better'

BOSTON – The Bruins didn’t seem terribly interested in breaking down what happened after the loss in Game 5 had settled in on Friday night.

The Bruins dropped a 2-1 decision at home to Toronto Maple Leafs where both teams were scoreless headed into the final period, and where the Bruins weren’t able to score on the power-play despite getting a 3-to-1 advantage in PP chances in the game. Instead, it was Leafs youngsters Auston Matthews and Kasperi Kapanen that scored the goals to moved Toronto a win away from advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in almost 20 years.

“We’ve had better games,” admitted Brad Marchand. “I don’t think either team was great, but it was the difference of one play. Game is over now, worry about the next one.”

They also managed almost as many shots on net in a desperate third period (14) as they did in the first two periods combined (15), so it wasn’t a big display of offense or of energy from a bottom-six forward group that Bruce Cassidy shuffled around because they weren’t giving him enough.

Certainly, those expecting an all-hands-on-deck physical effort like the energetic Game 2 win at home were left disappointed by something that again didn’t quite rise to playoff-level intensity.

“I didn’t think that we had energy in the bottom of our lineup. They don’t generally play their fourth line a lot, so if our fourth line and the guys we use in that roll aren’t going together in sync then it works against us. That’s the way I saw it,” said Bruce Cassidy “We had a couple of shifts that I thought they got outplayed to a certain extent. When I used them individually, in pieces, with different lines I thought we had a better result so we kind of went three lines and then added a player here or there.

“I thought that might work out better for us. Obviously, in the end, we lost the game, so, who knows? Clearly, I don’t know if the difference in the game was the minutes that were distributed because they are generally energy anyway, and we lacked a bit of that early on.”

The best thing the B’s had going for them was that it was scoreless after two periods, and they still had a legit chance to win going into the final frame. It didn’t work out that way, of course, when Auston Matthews rifled home the one-timer to finally snap the spell in the third, and again, Boston’s top trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak were held off the scoreboard in a B’s playoff loss.

“We’ve just got to be better. You know, we’re going to have our back against the wall, so we have to learn from this game and be better, and honestly play desperate hockey and get a W no matter what it takes,” said David Krejci. “We were feeling really good. We’ve been in this situation before and we’ve handled it pretty well in the past, so we knew we could do it. But it just didn’t go our way. We have to do better next game.”

Particularly discouraging for the Bruins after the loss: The Bruins are 3-20 in playoff series where they fall behind 3-2 in the best-of-seven series format. In fact, they haven’t won in this situation since coming back against the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup back in 2011. 

It sure doesn’t feel like the Bruins are capable of that kind of magic after a merely okay effort in a Game 5 loss, but the B’s will get one more chance to prove themselves before postseason elimination lurks in the background.

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Bruins are 19-1 all time in the playoffs when Brad Marchand scores a goal

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USA Today Images

Bruins are 19-1 all time in the playoffs when Brad Marchand scores a goal

Not only does Brad Marchand have the most points on the Bruins as well as being one of their best shooters—he's so good that whether the Bruins win or lose is basically tied to his performance.

Marchand, going into Friday night's Game 5 against the Toronto Maple Leafs has 106 points and 38 goals on the season between the regular season and playoffs combined.

Marchand is best in points, and only second to David Pastrnak in goals on the B's roster.

Marchand, who has played for the Bruins since 2008, is so much of a factor, that the Bruins are 19-1 in the playoffs all time when he scores. According to nhl.com, "the one loss was on April 21, 2012, a 4-3 loss to the Capitals in Game 5 of the First Round. Since then, Marchand has scored in 10 different playoff games, which the Bruins all won."

Marchand, who is trying to clean up his game after developing a pretty lengthy history of getting in trouble with the league, will hope to help his team get to 3-2 in their series against the Maple Leafs tonight at TD Garden.

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Talking Points from the Bruins' 6-4 Game 4 win over the Maple Leafs

Talking Points from the Bruins' 6-4 Game 4 win over the Maple Leafs

GOLD STAR: It took Bruce Cassidy shaking things up a little bit while dropping David Pastrnak down with David Krejci, but it got Pastrnak back playing his game and he scored his first two goals of the postseason. Pastrnak finished with the two second-period goals that gave the Bruins a lead they wouldn’t give up. He also led the B’s with six shots on net in his 16:33 of ice time. 

Pastrnak finished with eight shot attempts, three hits and played a little faster and stronger on the puck while finishing off the chances he got in the middle of the game. The backhanded saucer pass from Brad Marchand to Pastrnak for a power-play one-timer was exactly the kind of slick, productive playmaking the two are capable of at any moment.

BLACK EYE: The Bruins finally stung the defensive stoppers that had been so good in this series for the Maple Leafs. John Tavares and Jake Muzzin each finished minus-3 and weren’t able to hold back Patrice Bergeron and Marchand as effectively when they were paired with Danton Heinen instead of Pastrnak. 

It extended to the face-off circle as well as Tavares was just 6-for-18 on the draw and didn’t seem to get the drop on Bergeron as he has in certain moments earlier in this series. Some of it might have been about the line shakeup that Cassidy introduced at the start of the game and some of it was about Boston’s best players finally outplaying the guys trying to stop them.

TURNING POINT: The Bruins twice had moments when they could have buckled if the Leafs could have taken advantage of them, but the B’s held strong in those moments and controlled play. In the second period, Tuukka Rask allowed a soft goal to Auston Matthews that clanged in off his glove hand and tied it at 2, but right at that moment, the Bruins surged forward and got a pair of goals from Pastrnak. Then in the third period, Toronto had them on the ropes again after scoring a couple of goals and closing to within one score, but the B’s defense and Rask hunkered down and didn’t allow another goal despite being outshot 16-9 in the final period.

HONORABLE MENTION: Zdeno Chara was strong, solid and even got rewarded for his efforts with a goal in the third period that ended up being the game-winner. Chara finished with a goal and a plus-3 rating in 24:12 of ice time while putting yeoman’s work in the defensive zone with five hits and four blocked shots for a B’s group that blocked a whopping 25 shots. Chara isn’t always going to play these kinds of big-minute performances in the playoffs anymore at 42 years old, but he found a way to be very close to his best when the B’s needed him to be a stalwart shutdown guy. The goal in the third period that whistled past Freddie Andersen was just icing on the cake.

BY THE NUMBERS: 25 – The number of blocked shots for the Bruins, who doubled Toronto 25-12 in this category while really paying the physical price for the gritty, high-scoring victory.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “I was putting pressure on myself to help the team this way, so it was big for me. I feel relieved...and awake.” – David Pastrnak, on scoring his first two goals of this postseason. 


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