BOSTON – Sometimes a team plays with renewed energy and vigor in the first game with new players added after the NHL trade deadline.
And sometimes a team lays an egg despite the addition of new trade pieces as everybody searches for the right fit while moving on from the players dealt away ahead of the very same deadline.
The Bruins were much more the former when they played a flat, “sleepy” game that ended with a 5-2 loss to the Calgary Flames Tuesday night at TD Garden.
It was the second loss in a row for a team that on Saturday night provided very little resistance in a rudderless, 9-3 blowout at the hands of the Canucks and left their coach wholly unimpressed after the loss to the Flames.
“[It was] clearly not good enough. I thought some guys came to play and some guys didn’t. [Some guys] didn’t break a sweat, some of them it looked like,” said Bruce Cassidy, right out of the gate after a game where the Bruins never held the lead. “I’m sure there was effort [and that] they were trying. They were just in-between, couldn’t execute or whatever. At the end of the day, it wasn’t good enough.”
Certainly, those direct words from Cassidy aren’t meant to be a pretty pointed message to the passengers on a Bruins team that had just watched Danton Heinen get shipped off 24 hours prior to the Calgary game.
The Bruins coach could have pointed out plenty of things that were lacking, whether it was the rare, poor overall game from the Perfection Line aside from Brad Marchand’s shorthanded goal, or the lack of resistance from too many good players when Calgary scored the back-breaking fourth goal in the third period.
On that one, David Krejci didn’t do enough on the back-check, Tuukka Rask left the five-hole wide open for Mikael Backlund and David Pastrnak never really got things going as the NHL’s leading scorer.
Surely, the just-concluded trip to Western Canada could be used as a travel-weary excuse by the Black and Gold, but those excuses should be pushed by the wayside for a team with big-time Stanley Cup playoff aspirations.
“We weren’t at our best for sure. We didn’t have it all the way through the game. We were a little sleepy, I guess, at times,” said Marchand, whose shorthanded tally tied it in at 1 in the second period before two more second-period Flames goals allowed Calgary to pull away. “It wasn’t our normal, upbeat, high-energy game, but it’s going to happen during an 82-game schedule. You’re not going to be perfect and unfortunately, we didn’t get this one.”
The Bruins will quickly dust off that performance, be happy that the Tampa Bay Lightning also lost so they stay five points behind Boston in the Atlantic Division and instead focus on getting the intensity back against the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.