Coming off their home opener loss on Thursday, it was safe to say that the Boston Bruins wanted to put one in the win column, especially considering they were hosting the Montreal Canadiens. This was the first of four games, with two at home—which for the Bruins includes the January 1, 2016 Winter Classic—and two on the road. Unfortunately, that wasn’t to be the case on Saturday night.
Just 1:14 into the game, Matt Beleskey was called for an illegal check to the head and 11 seconds later, David Desharnais had the Habs on the scoreboard. And when the final horn sounded the Habs had a 4-2 win and the penalty sheet totaled 13 penalties equaling 53 minutes, with Ryan Spooner of the Bruins receiving a game misconduct after a boarding penalty major and Torrey Mitchell earning himself a match penalty—no doubt for the slew foot he gave to Zac Rinaldo with just 38 seconds remaining in the game.
Claude Julien used his Coach’s Challenge when a goal by Loui Eriksson was waved off for goalie interference. One of the changes to the rules this season, the challenge did nothing other than add a few minutes to the waiting time of the game, while the referees viewed the various camera angles on a tablet and then stuck to their original assessment.
Ever the politically correct, Julien commented after the game that it was a case where they would have to agree to disagree.
The chippiness of the game escalated as time on the clock counted down. And as Spooner was escorted off the ice with his game misconduct, it did not look good for the players in black and gold. Things became especially grave when Brad Marchand took a slashing call with 1:05 still remaining on the major penalty, forcing the Bruins to a two-man deficit for more than a minute. However, it turned out that this penalty time would be some of the strongest hockey that the Bruins would play Saturday evening.
So, what can the team take away from yet another disappointing loss?
Perhaps first and foremost should be how the team is coming together to support each other when liberties are taken on the ice. Such was the case with the slew foot on Rinaldo, in which Max Talbot was quick to let Mitchell know such antics would not be tolerated.
“It is, you know, we have a good group in here. It’s just a great group of guys, that we have each other’s backs,” Torey Krug responded after the game. “If something happens out there, you know, it happens to all of us. So it’s definitely a group that, uh, we trust each other and take care of each other. Great job by [Talbot] there.”
“It is super important for us as a team. I think we showed at the last exhibition game at Washington that we’re a tight group here and we gotta keep showing it,” said Talbot about all the players who stood up foreach other. “That’s something that, when you get in those situations, you use to learn too, that these are the things that will keep you together and that will keep you moving forward.”
At this point there really is no where for the team to move but forward. They need to shake off these two losses and focus on their next home game, against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It will be their first matinee game of the season—something they were not well known for last year.
But another thing that they must come to terms with is the youth on their bench. With Zdeno Chara still listed as day-to-day and Dennis Seidenberg out for at least another five weeks or so, the Bruins’ defensive line is much younger than in years past.
“It’s tough because we’re trying to work through something right now. Especially as a group, we’re being tested early; and a new group, we’re being tested ear,” Krug shared. “I think on the bench we can always be better; more positive. Make sure that we manage the game a little bit better as players. There’s always room for improvement, but by no means are we down on ourselves.”
Going forward it will be up to the leadership core to help the younger players focus on their game and not on the negatives they have experienced in two losses.
“It is part of our role right now as a leadership group. I think, uh, having a lot of young guys in the line up where… I think we all know we can all be better,” Talbot said pensively. “And sometimes it’s seeing the big picture and not seeing just these two lost and the bad things you are doing out there. You gotta think as a group. You know, it’s uh, a role as older guys to be there for them and push forward and help them to stay confident and to actually develop their game to make a difference.”
The Bruins practice at 11 AM on Sunday, October 11, at their practice facility, Ristuccia Arena, in Wilmington. It will be interesting to see what Julien has them do given that he alluded to knowing what was going wrong and that it was on him and the players to fix it.
Below is the video of the locker room interviews: