BOSTON (CBS) — After coming as close as possible to letting a 3-1 series lead slip away in the first round, and with the historic 2010 collapse after leading 3-0 forever hanging over them, the story is going to be pushed that doubt is starting to creep into the Bruins’ locker room.
But Claude Julien said after Thursday’s Game 4 loss that there’s little to be worried about.
“There’s no panic here,” the Bruins’ head coach said after the 4-3 overtime loss. “Had we been outworked and not been there at all, I’d be talking differently here. But we didn’t get outworked. All it was is our team didn’t execute as well as we have been lately. We gotta go back home and play a better game.
“Our work ethic was there. The things that we did extremely well [in previous games] weren’t easy tonight.”
As for questions about the Bruins’ struggles to close out series, Julien wasn’t willing to revisit the Toronto series, deflecting a question by stating, “That’s last series.”
With Tuukka Rask falling onto his backside to allow the first goal, and with Zdeno Chara unaware that Derek Stepan was bearing down on him to steal the puck for the second goal, Julien said those two mistakes were the most costly in the loss.
“I felt we didn’t get outworked, but we didn’t play as well as we could have throughout the whole game,” Julien said. “The other thing is, when you give them two gift goals, eventually it’s gonna hurt. So that’s what happened.”
Those weren’t the only mistakes, though, as Tyler Seguin jumped over the boards too early on a line change, leading to a too many men on the ice penalty shortly after Seguin’s goal had put the Bruins ahead 3-2. The Rangers’ power play, previously unsuccessful in all attempts this series, finally found success on the ensuing man advantage. Again, the Bruins had lost their lead, and it was a mistake for which Seguin shouldered the blame.
What the Bruins are left with is a 3-1 series lead and the knowledge that had they made even one fewer mistake, they likely would have done enough to earn them a victory and a trip to the conference finals. On Saturday in Game 5, they’ll have the chance to make amends and play a better game, something every Bruins player vowed to do in the losing locker room.
Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but one thing they definitely won’t do is panic.