BOSTON – A 2-1 loss late in the preseason could be considered, by some, as a bit of a setback.
Despite the Bruins falling to the Ottawa Senators by that final score Thursday night at the TD Garden, the team feels things are falling into place just in time for the 2011-12 season opener, Oct. 6 against the Flyers
“I think we are right where we need to be,” said captain Zdeno Chara. “We got one more game to go so we just have to get ready for that opening [game].”
For the most part, despite another night of sloppy play with the man-advantage – which went 1-for-7 – the Bruins played pretty well peppering Craig Anderson with 40 shots on goal, including 20 in the first period. In that opening 20 minutes, Milan Lucic gave the Black and Gold their only tally at 10:35 of the first.
Normally, things would be a bit concerning watching the Bruins during the third period – a period that saw Daniel Alfredsson score the tying goal at 5:10 and David Rundblad score the game-winner on a four minute double-minor at 15:59 (served by Rich Peverley for high-sticking. But two different coaching philosophies in this one from Bruins boss Claude Julien and Sens rookie coach Paul MacLean, would dictate otherwise.
“Every team has its own agenda and ours is to evaluate players right now,” Julien said about the pre-season. “They certainly cut their bench and went down to three lines and you hardly saw their fourth line guys at all or you just spotted them on different lines [in that third period]. I wasn’t about to do that, not when you’re evaluating players.”
Regardless of what happened Thursday night, the Bruins feel they are right on course with their performance this pre-season in preparation for their defense of Lord’s Stanley.
“I think we were a little sloppy at times, but for the most part it’s how it goes,” said forward Brad Marchand. “It’s been a short summer and we’re all just trying to get away from hockey a bit. We’re trying to get back into it now and it’s happened so we’re good right now. We’ve got to be happy with how things are going so far.”
There are still a few kinks that the team needs to work on before they begin their title defense.
One of those kinks, as seen Thursday night, is that killer instinct that was seen against Vancouver in the Stanley Cup Finals.
“We created a lot of chances, a lot of opportunities and I think we need to find right now – especially in this game we didn’t have – is that killer instinct and that [strong] finish,” said Lucic. “We still have one week to prepare and one more preseason game left. A lot is happening here in the next week so we have to do whatever we can to get ourselves ready.”