OTTAWA, CANADA - FEBRUARY 25: Brad Marchand #63 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his first period goal with teammates Patrice Bergeron #37 and Tyler Seguin #19 during an NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place on February 25, 2012 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
I hope I'm not the only one who felt better about the Bruins heading into Saturday night's game at Ottawa than I did after it.
Johnny Boychuk being potentially sidelined with a head injury notwithstanding, the Bruins didn't look that good on Saturday night. It's a bit greedy to complain after a win, but Boston let Ottawa score first, failed to capitalize on numerous bad turnover by the Sens and almost let their opponent back into the game after Zdeno Chara decided that punishing Chris Neil for his hit on Boychuk was more important than finishing the game.
Tim Thomas' frustration with his defense at the game's end was evident, but it's tough to put all the blame on a defense playing with just four men for five minutes at the end of a game after playing the night before.
That said, it's tough to find a reason why Boston didn't have a three-goal lead sooner, since they forced nine turnovers and were the beneficiaries of another 15 Ottawa giveaways and were, you know, playing against Alex Auld.
With four minutes to go in the game, I was ready to say glowing things - after all, it'd have been Boston's third straight game holding an opponent to less than three goals after going so long without accomplishing the feat.
But then Daniel Alfredsson made a dent in Tim Thomas' armor, causing the usually cool and collected Bruins netminder to get a bit hot under the collar with his teammates.
Chara's decision to fight Neil may have felt like the right one, but it wasn't. A struggling team like Boston that needed every point they could get shouldn't be watching their captain willingly decide to take a seat for five minutes at the end of a road game against the team chasing them in the standings.
Maybe Chara wanted to send a message. It's a message that Shawn Thornton normally would have sent. but Thornton was out with flu-like symptoms.
So maybe 22 will have something to say about it when Ottawa comes to town on Tuesday night. Or maybe the Bruins will just focus on extending their winning streak against the Senators to nine, and earning their first winning streak in nearly eight weeks.
One way or the other, it's not likely that it will be the same Boston team that takes the ice on Tuesday. With the trade deadline Monday, changes are rumored to be coming. Of course, if the Bruins keep up their recent strong play, the biggest change of all may be just that.