Game was lost, not confidence
Winnipeg seen as a bump in the road
WINNIPEG, Manitoba - On Oct. 29, after the Bruins lost their seventh game of the 2011-12 season, they entered crisis mode as management, coaches, and players attempted to right what had started out all too wrong.
On Tuesday, following only their eighth regulation loss of the season, there was no such panic.
“A loss is a loss. Nobody likes it, especially in this locker room,’’ said Andrew Ference after a 2-1 setback to the Jets at the MTS Centre. “But that’s part of what makes us successful. We weren’t flying on top of the rainbow when we were winning so many games. We didn’t get ahead of ourselves. In the same way, we’re not going to beat ourselves up.’’
The Bruins remain in second place in the Eastern Conference, courtesy of their 14-0-1 rumble through all of November and the start of December. They are 1 point behind league-leading Pittsburgh, a club they dispatched by a 3-1 score Monday at the Consol Energy Center. They remain the beneficiaries of good health.
However, they are only a point ahead of third-place Florida, which visits TD Garden tonight. The new-look Panthers are led by their top line of Tomas Fleischmann, Stephen Weiss, and Kris Versteeg, who have been shredding opposing goalies all season.
“We’ve just got to turn the page,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “Probably the next game is the tell-tale. We can’t let those kinds of things deflate us. At the same time, we should be happy with the consistency that’s been part of our game for over a month now.’’
In Tuesday’s loss, the Bruins were without point-per-game forward Tyler Seguin. The second-year pro was banished to the press box for missing a team breakfast and meeting that day. Julien acknowledged that Seguin had committed such an offense “more than a few times.’’ Seguin will play tonight.
The Bruins played better in the loss to Winnipeg than they did in some of their wins last month. They had more puck possession against the Jets than they had in a 2-1 shootout win over Columbus Nov. 17. They pressured Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec far more stoutly than they did against Carey Price in a 1-0 win over Montreal Nov. 21.
But Pavelec turned in a 39-save beauty to help his club score 2 points. That’s exactly what Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask did on several occasions during the team’s 15-game streak. Rask played well enough to record the win against the Jets. He was perfect in the second period, when the Jets put 10 shots on goal and attacked the net with speed. He was sharp in the third, especially on a point-blank Evander Kane shot that he deflected into the netting.
“I thought he was good tonight,’’ Julien said. “When you don’t play on a regular basis, you’ve got to give him a chance to get into it. I thought he made some unbelievable saves at the end to keep us in there. I liked his game and his effort.
“The other goaltender was just as good at the other end. It was a good battle in regards to those two.’’
Considering their effort, their pushback against the Jets, and their second-place standing in the East, it was a loss the Bruins could absorb. A month ago, such an outcome could have had far more painful consequences.
“I hate losing,’’ Shawn Thornton said. “But at least we put ourselves in a position where we’re not we were at a month and a half ago. This loss would have devastated us.
“We’ve worked hard to get where we are. We played good enough to win. I think as long as we’re doing the right things and be consistent, we can take a loss every now and then.’’
Joe Corvo didn’t turn in a sharp two-game road trip. Against Pittsburgh, he played a season-low 12:05 while failing to record a shot on goal. The following night, Corvo was on the ice for both Winnipeg goals. Andrew Ladd beat Corvo one-on-one on the first one. Corvo was caught leaning toward the offensive zone when Bryan Little won a neutral-zone faceoff and blew through the Bruins for the game-winning goal. Corvo played 14:16 against the Jets. He is averaging 18:58 this season and has yet to score a goal. He will be an unrestricted free agent at year’s end . . . The Bruins didn’t practice yesterday. They remained overnight in Winnipeg and flew back to Boston yesterday morning . . . The Bruins will get right back on their charter tomorrow, traveling to Columbus for Saturday’s game against the Blue Jackets.