Despite loss to Capitals, Bruins happy with effort
Coming off their miserable loss to the Montreal Canadiens Friday afternoon in the Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium, the Bruins needed a better effort Tuesday against stiffer competition.
With the Eastern Conference leading Washington Capitals in town the Bruins got a better effort than they did against Montreal, a much better effort actually. Unfortunately for the Black and Gold, the effort wasn’t enough to beat a team like the Capitals.
“I think you said it right, there’s no moral victory. I can’t criticize the effort our team gave tonight. In the situation we’re in, we almost had to play a perfect game to beat those guys and I think we gave ourselves a chance there,” head coach Claude Julien told the media following the 3-2 loss Tuesday night.
“I don’t think we ever quit when we were down a goal, down two came back into it, down two again came back, and you know made a big save on Zee [Zdeno Chara] at the end in order to keep that game from being tied. I think our guys tried – really tried.”
The loss wasn’t due to a lack of effort; the Bruins were simply beaten by a better team. The Capitals are as good as they come in all of the National Hockey League. From their top six forwards to their d-core to Bruins killer Braden Holtby in goal, the Capitals are fully loaded.
“Yeah, you know, I’d say probably the top five or six teams in the league; they have a top, I guess, nine that can score and, they definitely have that for sure,” said Ryan Spooner, who picked up his 18th assist of the season in the loss. “You know, I think for the most part, we played a pretty solid game; it was just a couple plays that just, we could have played maybe a little bit differently, and we just didn’t. I guess that’s just how it goes.”
The Bruins had their chances, but Holtby — as he’s been doing all season — stood tall. After being shutout by Holtby in all three meetings last season, the Bruins have gotten three pucks past the Caps netminder in their last two meetings but have failed to win either.
Moving forward from the loss, the Bruins effort needs to continue to be there and improve in order to stop sliding down the Eastern Conference standings.
The Bruins will look to take positives from the loss and build off of those positives as they kick off a five-game road trip Friday night against the New Jersey Devils.
“Yeah it’s a huge road trip, it’s a long one. We know we’re playing some big teams, especially early on some good teams,” forward Patrice Bergeron said after the loss. “You know yeah we have to turn this around and sometimes it’s a good thing to go on the road and feel good about ourselves.”
The road has treated the Bruins very well so far thus season as they’ve gone 11-3-2 away from TD Garden. With losses in five or their last six, the Bruins need a successful road trip in order to stay inside the playoff bubble.
“I think we have to find ways to generate more goals, more chances. I thought it was a much better effort but still not good enough you know. At the end of the day you need to get wins and the standings are way too tight to let games like that slip by,” added Bergeron.
“But we have to realize that it was a better effort, and hopefully we can you know move and be a little better again next game and you know get back on the winning column.”
The Bruins are not good enough at this point to win on effort. They need to get back to the little things that make them successful and what helped them climb back into the playoff picture after a slow start.
“Well it is a big road trip coming up, and we have to approach it that way. I’m hoping that our group here is going to be ready for that challenge, and you know again looking at the smaller picture that’s the next game against New Jersey,” said Julien.
“Let’s see if we can get on a roll here and build on that and so that’s what we need to look at and there’s no reason for us to not have the confidence with the record that we have on the road and hopefully we can, you know, have that and go out there and prove that we still got a good road team.”
The Bruins can hang their hats on their effort all they want, but unless they turn that effort into positive results, they are in trouble.