For a few third-period minutes on Tuesday, TD Garden was rocking.

David Krejci had shoveled in his 12th goal of the season, just 26-seconds after Brad Marchand had buried his 22nd of the year, and the Bruins were leading the Toronto Maple Leafs by a score of 3-1 in the team’€™s first game back after the All-Star break.

And then …

“€œWe let the lead slip away,”€ said defenseman Dennis Seidenberg. “We didn’€™t defend well enough in front of our net. Usually we’€™re pretty good at that.”

The Bruins’ franchise this decade had usually been good at protecting leads, let alone net-fronts. In the past four seasons under Claude Julien, a two-goal Bruins’€™ lead was almost an automatic Bruins’€™ victory: the B’€™s were 158-9-7 over those four campaigns.

However, a season that began with three blown two-goals leads in the first six contests of October has been filled with a-typical B’€™s behavior.

“€œYou know what, I don’€™t know,” centerman David Krejci said when asked what the difference has been this year in holding leads compared to previous years. “€œ[Inexperience] shouldn’€™t be an excuse, because we’€™ve played 50 games already and everyone knows the game-plan. I think we are in good shape in [that] part of the game. We all know what to do. It’€™s just execution.”

Krejci continued: “We used to have a killer instinct when we were up two goals in the third [period], we’€™d go out there pushing for the next one. But today, a frustrating game, [Toronto] got two goals, two tips in the high slot. Nothing you can do about that.”

Some might disagree with that ending declaration. Julien, for example.

“Just before [Toronto] scored their second goal, we make a stretch pass in the middle, it kind of bounces, stops at the blue line,” explained Julien. “We’€™ve got two players that skate by it, don’€™t even bother to dump it in. They come back, and get a scoring chance. [Our] next line out there, again, another puck management issue and it ends up in our net. We shoot ourselves in the foot in those situations.”

It seems Julien was referring to a stretch pass made to winger Matt Beleskey, who had his pocket picked from behind by Nazem Kadri just upon entering the Toronto zone. Instead of making sure the puck got deep, Beleskey’€™s line-mates Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes headed for a line change. Kadri was then allowed free entry into Boston’€™s zone, and some 20 seconds later, Leo Komarov got position on Zach Trotman for a deflection that beats Tuukka Rask, cutting Boston’€™s lead to 3-2.

“€œThree of the [Toronto] goals were tipped in,”€ continued Julien. “That’€™s poor coverage. All three goals were kind of tipped from 10-to-15 feet from our net, so the slot area was not covered very well. We know they like to shoot for those tips. We didn’€™t do a good enough job of taking care of that. They did a good job of tipping those pucks, it’€™s something they work at. Again, the coverage wasn’€™t how it should have been.”

Defenseman Kevan Miller’€™s post-game analysis seemed to be somewhere in-between ‘€œnothing you can about that’€ and ‘€œthat’€™s poor coverage.’€

“€œGood goals, for sure,”€ said Miller. “They had a good couple of high tips that we need to sort out in our D zone. That’€™s something that we’€™ve been harping on a lot this year. We need to sharpen that up. You’€™ve got to read it, that’€™s the job as a defenseman to kind of scope out, find that guy. We got a little ahead of ourselves, with guys leaving the zone.”

On Toronto’€™s game-tying goal – a tip by Kadri who was alone in the slot – Trotman this time had a man occupied in front. Team captain Zdeno Chara, however, was caught in no-man’€™s land in the left wing circle with his eyes on the point.

It all left Julien searching for the proper descriptive terms to attach to Tuesday’€™s blown lead.

“€œI don’€™t think it was [that we were] relaxing,” said Julien. “€œRight now I don’€™t know if it’€™s a matter of you’€™re afraid to lose, playing it safe. We go out there in the third determined to win, we score two goals. [Then] we turn around and we get sloppy again. I don’€™t know if it’€™s relaxing or losing focus, but certainly not good enough for our hockey team to think that we can contend if we keep making those kind of mistakes.”

“€œWe have to be stronger coming out of our zone, making better plays so everything is a little cleaner,” explained Seidenberg. “If we do that the whole flow of the game changes. Cleaner, with more speed, and create more. I don’€™t know, it’€™s little things. Paying attention to details all over the ice. Sticking to the game plan. That should work.”€

Only too often, it’€™s not working for the Bruins.

“Anytime you lead 3-1 you want to keep the lead and end up winning hockey games,” Seidenberg said. ‘€œThat’€™s one one of those games we let slip out of our hands. Everybody is pretty annoyed right now.”

“€œThat’€™s extremely frustrating,” said Miller. “€œEvery team is capable of winning on any night but it’€™s games we should win, especially at home, we need to start getting that in order. It’€™s different things every time. We’€™re trying to sort that out. If it’€™s not one thing, it’€™s another.”

Blog Author: 
Ken Laird

The Bruins have lost five games in which they've led by two goals. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)When the Bruins blew a 3-1 lead in the third period against the Sabres and went on to lose in regulation on Dec.



Ken Laird and DJ Bean discuss a frustrating blown point by the Bruins against division cellar-d

Scoring in the third period isn’€™t a huge problem for the Bruins. Allowing goals in the third period is.

Scoring in the third period isn’€™t a huge problem for the Bruins. Allowing goals in the third period is.

The Bruins appeared to be home-free after a pair of goals early in the third period Tuesday gave them a 3-1 lead over the Maple Leafs, but the B’€™s faltered drown the stretch as Toronto scored twice to pull even in regulation before P.A. Parenteau scored a power play in overtime to give the Leafs a 4-3 victory. In the Bruins’€™ last six games, they have allowed as many third period goals (eight) as they’€™ve scored.

Though Tuessday’€™s result should be considered a huge disappointment, one point was enough to pull the Bruins even points-wise the Red Wings with 58 for third place in the Atlantic Division, though the Bruins have played 50 games to Detroit’€™s 49.

Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:

KREJCI GIVETH, KREJCI TAKETH AWAY

David Krejci can take over a game, as was evidenced early in the third. It was ultimately his holding penalty in overtime that led to Toronto’€™s game-winner, however.

In a matter of 26 seconds in the third, Krejci set up Brad Marchand to break the tie and then scored a goal of his own to give the B’€™s a lead they’€™d eventually relinquish.

Krejci’€™s two-point game gave the veteran center a four-game points streak (one goal, four assists) in what has been a very consistent stretch for him. Dating back to Nov. 25, Krejci has points in 15 of 20 games, registering four goals and 12 assists for 16 points in that stretch.

CAREER YEAR IN REACH FOR MARCHAND, BUT TOP LINE TORCHED

As long as he doesn’€™t get hurt or suspended for too long, Brad Marchand will post career-best offensive numbers with ease. A two-goal performance Tuesday brought Marchand to 22 on the season, putting him six goals shy of his career-high 28 (set in 2011-12) with 31 games to play.

Not only should Marchand set a career high, he could actually push for 40 goals with a strong enough stretch run. As is, he’€™s currently on pace for 38 goals, which would be the most by a Bruin in the Claude Julien era and most for the franchise since Glen Murray popped in 44 back in 2002-03.

That’€™s the good news for the Bruins’€™ first line. The bad news for Patrice Bergeron and friends is that they had a rare experience of getting torched possession-wise in regulation. Playing mostly against Nazem Kadri’€™s line, Bergeron had a Corsi For percentage of 25 through three periods, with only linemate Brett Connolly’€™s 21.74 mark ranking worse among skaters Tuesday night.

KEMPPAINEN SITS

For the second time in the last five games, Joonas Kemppainen served as a healthy scratch for the Bruins. Max Talbot continued to center the Bruins’€™ fourth line with Kemppainen in the press box, as the Bruins used the following lineup:

Marchand-Bergeron-Connolly
Eriksson-Krejci-Pastrnak
Beleskey-Spooner-Hayes
Rinaldo-Talbot-Ferraro

Chara-Trotman
Seidenberg-Colin Miller
Krug-Kevan Miller

Rask

BELESKEY HELPING OUT

Matt Beleskey picked up where he left off, as he followed his two-assist performance in the pre-break finale with a nifty play Tuesday that led to a Bruins goal. Beleskey wheeled around to make an impressive behind-the-back pass to Jimmy Hayes, leading to a shot that yielded a rebound on which Brad Marchand scored his 21st goal of the season.

The assist gave Beleskey 17 on the season, and with his eight goals he is now on pace for a career-best 42 points. Beleskey’€™s best offensive campaign was last season, when he registered 32 points in 65 games for the Ducks.

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean
Jonas Gustavsson

Jonas Gustavsson

Jonas Gustavsson took a positive step Tuesday by facing shots in the Bruins’€™ morning skate, but he will remain on injured reserve when the B’€™s host the Maple Leafs at TD Garden.

“Cleared to practice, not to play,” Claude Julien said of the goaltender, who is recovering from an elevated heart rate.

With Gustavsson remaining out, Malcolm Subban will be Tuukka Rask‘€™s backup Tuesday night. Based on morning skate, the lineup figures to be as such:

Marchand-Bergeron-Connolly
Eriksson-Krejci-Pastrnak
Beleskey-Spooner-Hayes
Rinaldo-Talbot-Ferraro

Chara-Trotman
Seidenberg-Colin Miller
Krug-Kevan Miller

Rask

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins learned what happens when a top forward is absent down the stretch. (Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)Back 1999, when David Pastrnak was just 2 years old, Ginuwine asked the world an important question.



It’€™s plausible that some truth serum would get Claude Julien to reveal that Loui Eriksson is one of his favorite players. Eriksson drives possession, scores goals and plays both the power play and penalty kill exceptionally.

Loui Eriksson

Loui Eriksson

It’€™s plausible that some truth serum would get Claude Julien to reveal that Loui Eriksson is one of his favorite players. Eriksson drives possession, scores goals and plays both the power play and penalty kill exceptionally. He’€™s not a shiny player, but he’€™s a coach like Julien’€™s kind of player.

So, with Eriksson unsigned and a possibility to be traded if the sides aren’€™t close on a contract by late February, how would Julien feel about such a player being traded while the Bruins are trying to make the playoffs?

“That depends,” Julien said. “Do you get something in return? Is that something in return something that would help our team? We don’€™t know that, so I can’€™t answer that and I don’€™t think that question is a good thing for me to answer because who knows if he’€™s going [and] who knows what we’€™d get back? I can’€™t answer it until something happens. Hopefully nothing.”

Eriksson, 30, is second on the Bruins in points this season and is on pace for 25 goals. According to a source, the sides have discussed his value but the Bruins have yet to press hard in contract negotiations.

“I’€™d like to keep Loui, period, just like the guys that have left us, I would have loved to have kept,” Julien said. “As a coach, would I like to have Looch? Would I like to have those other guys? Hamilton? Sure, [but] we couldn’€™t keep them for different reasons. You get some good players that end up leaving for reasons that we can’€™t control, so you’€™ve got to have the confidence in your upper management that they’€™re going to make the right decision. I can’€™t do anything about it. I can only coach what I have right now. I enjoy having him. I think he’€™s a great player and we’€™ll see where it goes from there.”

Blog Author: 
DJ Bean

The Bruins made some roster moves upon returning from the All-Star break, most notably by placing goaltender Jonas Gustsavsson on injured reserve and recalling Malcolm Subban from Providence. David Pastrnak, who was sent to Providence to play games during the break, was also recalled.