The tension and frustration were palpable in the Bruins' locker room after last night's loss, with players and coaches making comments that echoed the same quietly desperate sentiment: we have to figure it out. We have to get it together.
"It's the same old I guess," said an exasperated Claude Julien after the game. "We’re off to good starts again and then...instead of continuing to play your game, you started seeing some long passes that ended up in icings, you saw some turnovers at the blueline. We didn’t win enough battles. We didn’t win enough races. This is our building. This is a game we have to win in our own building and we let it get away."
Let it get away, indeed.
The Bruins took a 1-0 lead just 72 seconds into the game. The second goal came just over four minutes later. It looked like the game would be a carbon copy of the B's 6-2 drubbing of the Avs in Colorado last month. And then...
"it’s disappointing," said Adam McQuaid. "We talk about playing complete games and trying to find that consistency from game to game...it wasn’t there tonight. It's, again, shooting ourselves in the foot at times."
It was, again, mistakes that doomed the Bruins, not single great efforts by Colorado.
Carl Soderberg was left all alone in the circle after a routine dump-in. McQuaid, with time and space, inexplicably iced the puck prior to Colorado's tying goal, which came off of a faceoff. Kevan Miller turned the puck over along the wall, leading directly to Matt Duchene's game-winner.
1,2,3: three mistakes, and just like that, the game is over. For a team as fragile as the Bruins appear to be right now, being down a goal midway through the third seemed to be a borderline insurmountable obstacle.
"We just didn’t follow up," said Dennis Seidenberg, who looked comfortable in his first game back from injury. "We kind of lost our game. They took it to us and scored two goals in the first, and then we were just kind of flat...we just couldn’t get it back on track."
The Bruins had a scary moment in the second period, when Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog hit Brad Marchand high on a play eerily similar to Matt Cooke's career-ending hit on Marc Savard. Thankfully, Marchand appeared to get his arms up at the last second; Landeskog was given a match penalty. Marchand received two minutes for punching Landeskog after the hit, but remained in the game and appeared no worse for wear.
"Any time you get hit in the head, you’re a little concerned," said Marchand, citing his recent concussion as well. "I was definitely nervous, but I think I’m OK."
Marchand channeled his inner Bill Belichick when asked if he thought the league should look into the hit, saying "it is what it is."
Landeskog defended the hit, claiming he took steps to avoid a more serious collision.
"I see he is in a vulnerable position, I try to let up," he said. "I hit his shoulder first and I’m happy he wasn’t hurt."
"I tried to skate up and apologize and tell him I didn’t mean to come across," Landeskog added. "Obviously he wasn’t hurt with that sucker punch. Like I said, I’m happy he didn’t get hurt...I feel like principle point of contact was shoulder."
For the Bruins, that dodged bullet was the lone bit of good news on a night that saw the Bruins let things get away again, a disconcerting sign as the calendar turns towards the Thanksgiving bellwether of playoff position.
"You’ve seen it in games this year, where we push and we push the pace forward and then we have success," said Julien. "But there are some games it’s just not there and that’s where, again, [it takes] time. I think we have to be careful that we don’t take too long because it could be too late."