The Boston Bruins made minimal moves at the trade deadline, opting for the “less is more” philosophy, looking for “glue” players to hopefully give them that little extra needed to secure a playoff spot. With twenty games remaining in the regular season and a slim lead for the eighth and final post season spot, the Bruins needed to come into Thursday night’s game against the Calgary Flames with a hunger and desire to win.
The Bruins came out strong with their top three lines applying pressure at the beginning of the game, but it’s not enough to administer pressure for the start of a period or game. The Bruins need to apply pressure and keep it going for the full 60 minutes. They didn’t do that Thursday, squandering two one goal leads, once in the first period and then again in the second.
“I think it’s always been that way. I don’t think anything’s changed. We’re in a battle here to make the playoffs, “ Bruins coach Claude Julien responded when asked if it was time for his team to ‘put up or shut up’. “It’s as simple as that, and we’ve got to make it happen. No matter what the challenges are, we’ve got to make it happen.”
Boston came out a little flat at the beginning of the third and it cost them as former Boston College Eagle and current Flames rookie Johnny Gaudreau beat goaltender Tuukka Rask to give Calgary a 3-2 lead. However, Boston’s second line decided to leave it all on the ice and were able to give Calgary a dose of their own medicine when Loui Eriksson banged home a rebound and erased Calgary’s one goal lead forcing overtime.
Forward Milan Lucic had this to say about Calgary’s ability to come back and remaining in the game until the end, “We definitely created enough chances to give ourselves the win. I mean we had two three-on-ones in the third period and we didn’t even end up with a shot on net. It seems like that’s been our biggest challenge this season is having that killer instinct and finishing off plays. It cost us again tonight when we had opportunities to—when we had the lead to extend the lead and when we made it three, three we had chances to win the game and we don’t bear down and gave them a chance to win it in the shootout. It’s no secret, we have to do a better job of winning games in the shootout.”
If the Bruins are going to fend off the teams that are nipping at their heels for that final playoff spot, they’ll need consistent play and pressure for the remainder of the season and take advantage of any opportunities that come their way.
“We got three goals today, and in the past, that’s been enough. But for whatever reason, that’s not enough right now,” said forward Chris Kelly about how concerning the Bruins’ lack of finish is, “I think we’ve had some pretty good chances, I think we just need to stick with it. We’ve got proven scorers in this room. We’ve just got to keep working through that.”