Bruce Cassidy blasts Bruins after ugly Oilers loss: 'Lack of focus'


The Boston Bruins were 20 minutes away from an upset win over the best team in the NHL's Western Conference on Thursday. Then things unraveled in a hurry.

After taking a one-goal lead into the third period, the Bruins allowed three consecutive goals to the Edmonton Oilers en route to a 5-3 loss at TD Garden. Defenseman Brandon Carlo gifted Leon Draisaitl the game-tying goal with a brutal turnover in front of the net, and things went downhill from there.

The loss put Bruce Cassidy in a foul mood, as the Bruins head coach called out his players, his coaching staff and himself after the team's second loss in three games.

"We absolutely beat ourselves. 100 percent," Cassidy said in his postgame press conference. "I have to do a better job. When the team beats itself, that’s on us as a staff. We have to do a better job getting them ready.

"There’s a lot that goes into beating yourself. Some of it is respect for the game of freaking hockey, who you’re playing against and how to play the right way. That’s on us to make sure the message gets across that you have to respect the game and play the right way and play the way you need to play to have success.

"Every team makes mistakes, but these directly, really impacted the game. ... Some of them we made are lack of focus, I guess."


Boston's mistakes are coming at the worst possible time, too. The B's have been outscored 5-1 in the third period over their last three games and now have a minus-9 goal differential in the final frame this season.

Going cold

Bruins' third-period goals through 11 G (31st in NHL)
Bruins' third-period goals allowed through 11 G (T-21st)

"Another good team found a way to beat us in crunch time," Cassidy said. "At some point, it’s not by accident. We have to do a better job."

Cassidy also wasn't happy with the shot selection (or lack thereof) of Boston's bottom three lines, noting that they're too focused on passing and stickhandling instead of getting shots on net. To Cassidy's point: The top line of David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand accounted for nearly half (13) of the Bruins' 29 shots.

“Not everyone can be Bergeron’s line. Not everyone can play like (Connor) McDavid," Cassidy said. "As a staff, we have to do a better job getting the players to understand what they can be successful at, how they can help the team win. One of those is getting more of a shot mentality.

"We have addressed it, but it’s fallen on deaf ears. We have to do a better job messaging that."

The 6-5 Bruins face another tough test Saturday against the 7-3-2 Devils in New Jersey.