BOSTON – For two periods, the Bruins looked like a team who was coming off a six-game road trip as the Ottawa Senators outplayed them in all aspects and the results showed.
Through two periods, the Sens outshot the Black and Gold 31-15 and built momentum after Erik Karlsson’s scored his 15th goal of the year (via the power play) at 14:44 of the first period – the games only goal. In fact if it weren’t for Tim Thomas, who had a season-high 37 saves, the score could have been a lot worse.
But even though the Bruins had their share of chances in the third, they still could not get out of the rut they dug themselves into during the first two periods and fell 1-0 Tuesday night at the TD Garden.
“Our legs were tired and heavy,” said defenseman Joe Corvo about the team’s first home game since their loss to the Rangers back on Feb. 14. “We didn’t look like we had any jump obviously.”
Tuesday’s game marked the fifth time that the Bruins were shutout during the month of February. But even with that, the team isn’t too concerned about that stat, especially since they lit the lamp five times in Saturday’s win against this same Senators team during the first game of a home and home.
“Last game we scored five goals,” said forward Patrice Bergeron. “It’s one of those games where we could have created more chances…but we couldn’t find a way to finish and maybe we [need] to get more traffic [to the front of the net].”
With some clutch saves through two periods, including one on Erik Condra after the first Bruins power play late in the opening frame, Thomas did everything he could to help his team.
“You need your goalie to be good on those kind of nights to give you a chance and he gave us a chance [tonight],” head coach Claude Julien said about Thomas’ effort. “He was good, he made some good saves, Timmy’s style, and the bottom line is he was making the saves and gave us an opportunity there right until the end.”
Thomas’ teammates, however, couldn’t reward him; even on the man advantage.
Despite have three power play’s in the final stanza – and four in the game – the Bruins could only muster a few shots towards Robin Lehner, who made 32 saves for his first career shutout.
“We were down 1-0 and we needed that goal,” said Thomas. “Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get it done.”
Maybe the Bruins can take the positives out of Tuesday’s third period and translate that into success – for 60 minutes – when they welcome the New Jersey Devils Thursday night at the TD Garden.
“We have to build off the positives for sure,” said Bergeron. “We’re going to have to readjust and, you know, its something that we talk about and make sure we play for 60 minutes.”
As seen just 12 months ago the Bruins have used their game against the Devils to bust out of their slump. The Black and Gold acme in dropping six of seven with about three weeks remaining in the season, but a 4-1 win helped set the tone for their Stanley Cup run.
Perhaps similar success is on the horizon as the calendar turns from February to March. But things will need to turn around quickly if the Bruins want to get out of their current state of mediocrity with 21 games left in the 2011-12 season.