The way the Boston Bruins have been losing games on this historic skid has been heartbreaking.
The Montreal Canadiens have contributed to this pain, handing the Bruins an excruciating loss just three days ago.
Coming off yet another shootout defeat, Boston looks to avoid matching a franchise-worst 11-game losing streak Sunday when it visits a Montreal team trying to win its fourth in a row.
The Bruins (23-22-11) have outplayed a number of opponents in their last 10 games, but they don’t have any wins to show for it.
Boston outshot opponents 165-111 on a just-completed four-game homestand, but it was outscored 13-7. The Bruins led in all four games - twice by two goals - and suffered three 3-2 shootout losses.
“Same story, I guess,” right wing Michael Ryder(notes) said after Saturday’s 3-2 shootout loss to Vancouver. “We did a lot of good things (Saturday), we threw a lot of pucks at the net and had good puck possessions. We just have to stick with it right now and we just have to find ways to get a few wins.”
The Bruins haven’t won since defeating Western Conference-leading San Jose 2-1 in a shootout Jan. 14 and are one loss away from matching a franchise-worst 11-game losing streak, set from Dec. 3, 1924-Jan. 5, 1925, their inaugural season. They are 1-10-3 since Jan. 7, but they’re surprisingly still in the playoff mix, just two points out of eighth place in the East.
Boston appeared to have a good chance to snap the skid Saturday, leading 2-0 on first-period power-play goals from Zdeno Chara(notes) and Ryder, but it couldn’t hold on. Leading 2-1 late in the third, Bruins left wing Milan Lucic(notes) overskated the puck allowing Pavol Demitra(notes) to tip-in the game-tying goal with 4:42 left in regulation. Demitra then scored the only goal of the shootout.
“We were playing well enough that we could have won that game 2-1,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. “Then when Lucic overskated the puck and they threw it at the net, those are the things that you say, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Give us a break here.’”
Boston endured a similar painful loss Thursday to the Canadiens (28-25-6).
The Bruins fired 47 shots on Montreal’s Jaroslav Halak(notes) and led 2-0 on goals from Mark Recchi(notes) and Blake Wheeler(notes), but the Canadiens managed to tie the score as Glen Metropolit(notes) and Roman Hamrlik(notes) scored 39 seconds apart late in the second. The game went to a shootout and Brian Gionta(notes) scored the lone goal there to give the Canadiens a 3-2 win, their third victory in as many games against Boston this season.
Gionta had two goals and an assist in Saturday’s 5-3 win over Pittsburgh, Montreal’s third straight victory immediately following a three-game skid. Tomas Plekanec(notes), Mathieu Darche(notes) and Scott Gomez(notes) also scored for the Canadiens, who outshot the high-powered Penguins 32-21.
“We were initiating the play,” Gionta said. “We weren’t sitting back and waiting for them to come to us.”
Halak made 18 saves Saturday after stopping 45 shots in each of the first two games of the winning streak. He is 5-1-1 with a 1.83 goals-against average and one shutout in his last seven starts and 4-2-0 with a 1.82 GAA and two shutouts lifetime against the Bruins.