Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron didn’t beat around the bush when addressing the media after his team blew a 2-1 third period lead and lost 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.
“It’s in the third where we got back on our heels and didn’t play our game and they took it to us,” the Bruins captain said after the game. “I thought the first 40 wasn’t perfect, but we still had some good control of the game and we’re up by one and I think that’s where we’ve had success all year. Obviously, we’re not happy with that third, but we’ve got to learn from that. I thought we got on our heels and we didn’t deny their speed and they took it to us.”
That was the first loss in regulation for the Boston Bruins when they had a lead after the second period. They are now 35-1-2 when taking a lead into the third period.
The Bruins also had a 2-1 lead over the Florida Panthers on Jan. 28, but they lost 4-3 in overtime. That was the crazy finish where David Pastrnak put the Bruins up with 49 seconds in regulation. However, with three ticks left in regulation, Panthers captain Sasha Barkov tied the game and sent it to overtime where forward Sam Reinhart won the game 17 seconds into the extra frame. The Bruins other blown third period lead came when they blew a 2-0 third period lead over the Los Angeles Kings and lost 3-2 in a shootout on Dec. 15.
While the Boston Bruins aren’t OK with blowing two points and padding their nine point lead over the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference standings and in the race for the President’s Trophy, wins aren’t their only priority. In fact, if the Bruins can eliminate a third period collapse like the one on Thursday, that and other areas of the game are just as important as two points.
“We talked about went wrong, how we can benefit and how we can better ourselves,” Boston Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery said after practice on Friday. “Us preparing for the Stanley Cup playoffs is more important than anything in the regular season.”
Later in his post-practice media session, Montgomery again reiterated the theme for the rest of the season, learning and preparation for the real thing come mid-April.
“As long as we learn from it right?” Montgomery asked rhetorically. “We weren’t creating offense. I think the thing that struck me the most was our attitude in the third period. It was different, first time I saw it all year, so it’s like OK, well why did we have an attitude of waiting for things to happen? Instead of let’s go make things happen. Don’t wait around for something bad to happen, let’s go end this game.
We didn’t have our normal attitude, and it’s something that we talked about as a team, and players had some ideas as to what we could do better, and coaches had some ideas as well of how we can do better, and that’s the way we communicate. We communicate back and forth, we talk things out, and ways to get better collectively.”
With all that in mind, Montgomery flipped wingers Tyler Bertuzzi and Pavel Zacha in practice Friday and will leave them in their new spots to start the game when the Boston Bruins host the Detroit Red Wings in a 1 pm. ET matinee on Saturday.
“We know from earlier in the year that Zacha with Coyle and Frederic is a real good shutdown line so there’s a real goos secondary shutdown line,” Montgomery pointed out. “Zacha penalty killed for us all year; knows our D-zone coverage, so that has a lot to do with it, and then I thought. …Bertuzzi’s made a lot of plays. S, put him with some other playmakers, and. …he makes plays and goes to make plays in different areas than those guys so just to see if there’d be some chemistry there. So, instead of doing it in-game, like I do all the time, I’d like to just see what it will look like from the start of the game because the mentality of players is very different when you start with a line than when it’s just in the rhythm of a game. It’s a lot easier in the rhythm of a game.”
Here’s what the lineup should look like for the Bruins against the Red Wings on Saturday:
Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Jake DeBrusk
Tyler Bertuzzi-David Krejci-David Pastrnak
Pavel Zacha-Charlie Coyle-Trent Frederic
A.J. Greer-Tomas Nosek-Garnet Hathaway
Dmitry Orlov-Charlie McAvoy
Hampus Lindholm-Brandon Carlo
Matt Grzelcyk-Connor Clifton