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Shortcomings were obvious

After a dismal effort, Bruins vow to move on

WASHINGTON -- For what seemed an eternity, Bruins defenseman Dan McGillis sat alone on a folding chair in a corner of the visitors' dressing room after Saturday night's 4-2 loss to the Lightning in Tampa. His teammates were heading for the showers, some talking to the media, some dressing for the flight to the nation's capital. But McGillis was oblivious to the activity. He just sat, his elbows on his knees, his head down, staring a hole into the floor.


After the club went through practice at the MCI Center yesterday in preparation for tonight's game against the Capitals, McGillis said he was just stunned his team could give up three shorthanded goals in one game. Afterward, he was reliving the nightmare over and over in his mind.

"We were told before the game by our coaching staff to be aware on our power play that they were a team that would go on offense if they get the puck on the penalty kill," he said. "Having it happen three times in a game is really not acceptable.

"We've got to be accountable for that stuff. Obviously, when you're on the power play, you want to be getting shots on the net and you want to be scoring. We've got to be better in that aspect of the game and at both ends of the ice. We shot ourselves in the foot there, giving up those goals."

Defenseman Nick Boynton had the worst night of anybody. He was on for all four Lightning goals and felt responsible for all three shorthanded ones -- Vincent Lecavalier's in the first period and Martin St. Louis's two in the second.

"The first one was what it was, it was a little bit of bad luck," said Boynton. "The second one I gave them and the third one I think I gave them.

"The first one, Lecavalier was alone in front and I tripped over [goalie Andrew Raycroft's stick] and I was on my butt. The second one, I thought we had a forward [up the boards], so I wrapped it around. [It went to St. Louis, whose shot went off Boynton's stick and in]. And the other one, I got caught too deep and the puck bounced down and out [for a St. Louis breakaway]. It was just one of those things where you can't do anything right. When it rains, it pours. But, it's over with."

The game may be over, but the Bruins' slump isn't. They're 2-8-6-1 in their last 17 outings. During their skid, the Bruins have converted just five times on the man advantage in the last 68 chances.

"Everybody is a lot sick and tired of what's going on," said left wing Mike Knuble. "I don't think anybody can look in the room and point to a guy who's not working hard. We all have pride. We have pride as players. Otherwise, we wouldn't be as far. That's what we're all searching for, that magic answer.

"I don't think it's lack of effort. A lot of bounces we're used to getting, we got them in the first 20 games, but we're not getting them the last 15 or so. That's no excuse, you create your own bounces, but it's just a lot of little things that add up to big problems, big trouble." Knuble said the team realizes it had an opportunity to turn its fortunes around and blew it.

"That was a good spot," he said. "A couple of days' rest and the Lightning played [Friday night] coming off the holiday, and we were in a good spot to do something. The odds were in our favor, but we just can't get over that hump. Our five-on-five play, we've been fine, but it's just the little things. It's a little thing here and then another night, it's a different little thing."

As badly as everyone is feeling the heat, especially with the Christmas roster freeze now over, center Joe Thornton said as captain he's looking as much to himself for answers as anyone.

"When you win, everything is easier," he said. "Something like this definitely checks out your character. It's frustrating, but it's only going to make us better players in the end." . . .

Right wing Marty Lapointe, whose compromised immune system resulted in his contracting a case of shingles, has yet to take any time off since the holiday break despite suffering from headaches and insomnia in addition to the body rashes caused by the virus. But this morning, he might find out he'll be getting league-imposed time off. NHL dean of discipline Colin Campbell will speak with Lapointe to find out if his high stick against Tampa Bay defenseman Brad Lukowich, which earned him a match penalty for intent to injure, will result in a suspension . . . The club recalled left wing Ivan Huml and defenseman Shaone Morrisonn from Providence.

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