At 5:19 of the first period the Bruins were forced to watch Montreal defenseman P.K. Subban jump for joy after he scored his first NHL regular season goal, which put Boston in a 1-0 hole. While Subban had clearly found his legs, the Bruins spent the entire night looking for theirs.
Unlike the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins the previous night there was no third-period rejuvenation. No five-goal outburst. No emotion. Just a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens Thursday night at TD Garden.
“The goal tonight was to score first, but as you saw it didn’t happen,” Bruins defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “We just don’t come out like we want to…we just have to correct it the next game.”
For the fourth straight contest the Bruins allowed the first goal, an early season trend Boston should look to stop in the short term. So far this season the Bruins are just 2-4-1 when allowing the first goal.
Subban experienced both the elation of scoring the goal and the relief of putting his team up one to nothing. The Canadiens were able to play there game, a comfort the Bruins haven’t felt in a while now.
“Once they get ahead they play that one-four its tough to play against those guys,” Seidenberg said. “But again we got to… That’s not an excuse we’ve got to bear down and score goals.”
The Bruins recently found that it is hard to score goals when you are constantly fighting to overcome a deficit. Eventually this extra power expenditure will catch up with the team. Head coach Claude Julien has already begun to notice this.
“We just, we ran out of legs,” Julien said. “We just didn’t have the legs and progressively our game got worse. We looked more and more tired and got a fresh waiting for you here at home in a divisional game. It’s a big game, they’re ready for us.”
The Bruins just weren’t ready for Montreal. Thursday’s loss to the Canadiens marked the first time the Bruins have lost the second of consecutive-night games this season. The Bruins are right in the thick of the Northeast Division race, but Julien’s comments about fatigue are alarming with 11 sets of consecutive night games left this season.
Energy should not be an issue when playing a rival as hated as the Montreal Canadiens at home. Bruins players insist that fatigue isn’t the problem.
“I didn’t feel fatigued,” Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask said. “I felt fresh and pretty good. I’m feeling good.”
The feeling around the Bruins locker room was similar to Rask’s. Rookie Tyler Seguin maintained that fatigue of playing back-to-back games was not a factor in the loss while Milan Lucic believes that their athleticism should overcome any conditioning issues.
“Well, that should never be an excuse,” Lucic said. “You know, we work out all summer and we’re highly trained athletes, we should be able to play two games in two nights, so it should not be an excuse.”
There will be no excuses if the Bruins lose another pivotal early season divisional matchup. The Ottawa Senators come to the TD Garden looking to take second place in the division away from the Bruins.
“Sometimes when your tired, not only your legs, but your mind doesn’t work as well,” Julien said.
With a day off Friday, we should see a mentally and physically revitalized Bruins team Saturday night.