BOSTON – The Bruins didn't seem terribly interested in breaking down what happened after the loss in Game 5 had settled in on Friday night.
The Bruins dropped a 2-1 decision at home to Toronto Maple Leafs where both teams were scoreless headed into the final period, and where the Bruins weren't able to score on the power-play despite getting a 3-to-1 advantage in PP chances in the game. Instead, it was Leafs youngsters Auston Matthews and Kasperi Kapanen that scored the goals to moved Toronto a win away from advancing to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in almost 20 years.
"We've had better games," admitted Brad Marchand. "I don't think either team was great, but it was the difference of one play. Game is over now, worry about the next one."
They also managed almost as many shots on net in a desperate third period (14) as they did in the first two periods combined (15), so it wasn't a big display of offense or of energy from a bottom-six forward group that Bruce Cassidy shuffled around because they weren't giving him enough.
Certainly, those expecting an all-hands-on-deck physical effort like the energetic Game 2 win at home were left disappointed by something that again didn't quite rise to playoff-level intensity.
"I didn't think that we had energy in the bottom of our lineup. They don't generally play their fourth line a lot, so if our fourth line and the guys we use in that roll aren't going together in sync then it works against us. That's the way I saw it," said Bruce Cassidy "We had a couple of shifts that I thought they got outplayed to a certain extent. When I used them individually, in pieces, with different lines I thought we had a better result so we kind of went three lines and then added a player here or there.
"I thought that might work out better for us. Obviously, in the end, we lost the game, so, who knows? Clearly, I don't know if the difference in the game was the minutes that were distributed because they are generally energy anyway, and we lacked a bit of that early on."
The best thing the B's had going for them was that it was scoreless after two periods, and they still had a legit chance to win going into the final frame. It didn't work out that way, of course, when Auston Matthews rifled home the one-timer to finally snap the spell in the third, and again, Boston's top trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak were held off the scoreboard in a B's playoff loss.
"We've just got to be better. You know, we're going to have our back against the wall, so we have to learn from this game and be better, and honestly play desperate hockey and get a W no matter what it takes," said David Krejci. "We were feeling really good. We've been in this situation before and we've handled it pretty well in the past, so we knew we could do it. But it just didn't go our way. We have to do better next game."
Particularly discouraging for the Bruins after the loss: The Bruins are 3-20 in playoff series where they fall behind 3-2 in the best-of-seven series format. In fact, they haven't won in this situation since coming back against the Vancouver Canucks to win the Stanley Cup back in 2011.
It sure doesn't feel like the Bruins are capable of that kind of magic after a merely okay effort in a Game 5 loss, but the B's will get one more chance to prove themselves before postseason elimination lurks in the background.
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