BOSTON -- It was déjà vu for the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night at TD Garden as they saw a third-period lead disappear once again. They blew a two-goal advantage over the Montreal Canadiens and lost 6-5 in a shootout to relinquish first place in the Northeast Division. Not only was this the fifth blown third-period lead for the Bruins in the month of March; it was their second straight against the Canadiens, who came back in the final frame to beat the Bruins 3-2 on March 3.
But having netted five goals for the first time since Jan. 28 to pull themselves out of their recent scoring woes, the Bruins did not seem overly distraught after blowing another lead to their bitter rivals.
"Well, that's the disappointing part, I think. It was nice to see us score some goals tonight; we've been a little dry lately and we managed to score five, so that was nice to see," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "But, unfortunately, we couldn't keep it out of our net, so it ended up costing us the game."
In previous third-period collapses the Bruins folded and didn't resist the opponent's momentum. But they didn't feel that was the case Wednesday. When Michael Ryder cut the lead to 4-3 3:58 into the third period, the Bruins responded with a Tyler Seguin goal 11:50 in. But then penalties, and in the Bruins' eyes some bad bounces, allowed the Canadiens to erase that two-goal lead and eventually pull off another comeback win.
"I would tell you that tonight the lead that evaporated wasn't the same as the other ones I've seen, when we've totally collapsed as a team," Julien said. "Tonight, when everything was fine, we were doing well and then, like I said, a bad bounce, puck bounces, we try to get out, we don't get it out off the faceoff that we win, it turns over, it goes off the face, then we get the penalty. It's an unfortunate break, with eight seconds left to tie the game. I don't think we sat back. We had some chances to score. [Gregory] Campbell had a breakaway there short-handed; we had some chances and we didn't score. But I certainly don't think we held back like we did probably in some other games."
Rookie defenseman Dougie Hamilton seemed a bit more concerned about another blown lead, believing that the Bruins need to correct this issue before the playoffs begin.
"I think it's pretty tough right now," said Hamilton, who scored his fourth goal of the season. "I don't think anyone is happy in the room. We definitely got to learn and learn quickly. I think with the last couple of games that we've had, having leads and losing them, I think that's happened a bunch of times this year and we've got to be better. Hopefully, we can just keep getting better. I don't know how many games we have left, but we got to get ready for the playoffs."
But overall, the Bruins seemed encouraged that the goals were finally coming and didn't seem too worried about their efforts. As far as they saw it, they simply came out on the short end of a seesaw game.
"It is frustrating when you're up by two goals in the third. It happened last time," said Patrice Bergeron, who had a goal and three assists. "We thought we were in control, playing a good game. But, yeah, very frustrating. I don't know. We kept putting pressure. We kept netting those goals in the end. A couple of bounces, maybe a little tighter in our zone, and we should be all right."
Bergeron's linemate, Brad Marchand, who scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season, was not happy with the result either. Marchand wants to cure the third-period problems, but he too was able to take positives from the loss.
"We're very disappointed with how the game finished but we do have to be happy we scored as many goals as we did," Marchand said. "We haven't been scoring like that lately and we played a pretty good game. I thought we probably deserved that win but a couple bounces and penalties and stuff and turned out the wrong way. But, definitely, some things we can take out of that to be happy about."