Leading up to Thursday’s season opener, many Bruins were asked if it was going to be difficult to stay focused on the game and come out strong after going through all the emotions of the Stanley Cup banner-raising ceremony. That proved to be pretty much a non-issue, as the Bruins started the game with plenty of jump and took a 1-0 lead on Brad Marchand’s power-play goal 9:42 in.
What was an issue, however, was the end of the first period and most of the second. The Flyers registered eight of the final nine shots in the first and scored a pair of goals in the closing minute.
The first came at the 19:10 mark when Claude Giroux blew by Zdeno Chara and beat Tim Thomas with a backhand-forehand move before crashing into the net. Then with just 2.4 seconds left in the period, Jakub Voracek found a rebound in the slot and snuck a spinning wrister past Thomas.
“I thought we came out fine in the first 10 minutes,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “Then somehow we kind of lost our jam and really got out of sync for at least the last half of that period. … At times our Ds were going up the ice, our forwards were coming back, and vice versa. We didn’t seem in sync. We didn’t seem to go up the ice as a unit.”
The lack of synchronization carried over into the second. Aside from two great chances for Marchand — a breakaway that Ilya Bryzgalov poked away and a backhander that the new Flyers goalie snagged with his glove — the Bruins couldn’t get anything going on offense. They mustered just one shot through the first 11 minutes of the period and went into the second intermission with just 12 in the game.
“I think it was the two goals at the end of the period there that kind of put a damper on things,” Marchand said. “We had a pretty good first and then, you know, they get a couple quick goals at the end. It kind of takes the life out of your sails. That stuff happens, but you have to learn how to regroup and bounce back from that.”
When the Bruins did get chances, they made a bad habit of missing the net. Especially in the first period, it seemed like every time someone took a shot from a quality scoring area, it went high or wide.
“I think the biggest thing was missing the net in the first period on some of those good chances that we had,” said defenseman Andrew Ference. “Coming out of the period with so few shots, and then going into the second and not getting any more… the response there was weaker than we would’ve liked, maybe looking for the perfect shot a little too much.”
Aside from the fact that it’s only the first game of the season, the Bruins can also take solace in their third-period play. They generated more scoring opportunities and nearly doubled their shot total with 11 in the frame.
“You saw in the third period, we simplified it a bit and got, not pretty plays, but just some normal shots on net and a lot more chances,” Ference said. “So the frustrating part in the second period was just not getting those easy shots.”
It may have been frustrating, and they’ll certainly have to avoid lulls like that in the future, but don’t expect the Bruins to let one loss get them down too much.
“We still have a great team,” Marchand said. “It’s the first game. We lost the first game last year, too. It’s still a long season. We’re still trying to get back into the swing of things here, but we still have lots of great things on this team, lots of great players. So we just have to make sure we kind of put those things all together.”