Although they scored three goals for the first time in four games and threw 44 shots at Kari Lehtonen, the Bruins couldn’t find an equalizer in the third period what ended up being a sloppy 5-3 loss to the Stars at TD Garden on Tuesday (box).
The loss was Boston’s third regulation loss in four games, marking the first time they’ve had such a stretch in almost two months.
Boston got goals from David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron and Dougie Hamilton, but shoddy power play work and an unfruitful third period meant an unfruitful result. The B’s fell to 28-19-17 on the season, and with Florida in line for a victory at the time Boston’s game ended, the race for the final playoff spot could very well close to four points with the Panthers holding two games in hand.
Tyler Seguin, who was sent back from Dallas’ morning skate with the flu, played and recorded no points.
The Bruins have a five-game road trip ahead of them that will begin Friday in Vancouver.
Here are four more things we learned Tuesday:
The Bruins got an injury scare early when Adam McQuaid laid a hit on Antione Roussel in the neutral zone. The Stars left wing clearly didn’t like it, as he responded by cross-checking McQuaid in the throat.
McQuaid went down to the ice and was holding his throat area before eventually getting up. Roussel, meanwhile was assessed a five-minute cross-checking major as well as a game-misconduct.
McQuaid left the bench and went to the training room but returned to the game following the power play, which, as explained below, was a disaster.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR
The Bruins entered Tuesday’s game last in the NHL with 122 power plays on the season. In the morning skate, Claude Julien only half-kiddingly said that the B’s only get power plays during practice. Well, the Bruins got power plays and boy oh boy did they give up shorthanded goals.
Roussel’s first-period infraction gave the Bruins a five-minute major that yielded only three shots on goals for the Bruins. The Stars enjoyed it, however, as Vernon Fiddler picked off an ill-advised pass at the blueline and cashed in with a shorthanded goal.
With a man contesting him at the point, Krejci tried to make a D-to-D pass along the blueline to Torey Krug, but Fiddler got a stick on it and was off to the races. Krug was also partially at fault, as he turned toward Fiddler and started skating east-west rather than turning and burning the second the puck was knocked out of the zone. Krejci was replaced by Dennis Seidenberg on the first power play unit on the next power play.
Fiddler’s goal was the first shorthanded goal the Bruins have allowed this season. The second followed quickly, as a four-minute double-minor following a Ryan Garbutt that cut Dougie Hamilton led to a Trevor Daley shorthanded goal to give Dallas the lead back after Hamilton had tied it.
Hamilton did not play the final 6:54 of the period after leaving the ice, but he returned for the third period.
PENALTY KILL GETS ONE BACK
There were no power-play goals in Tuesday’s game, but both teams used the penalty kill to make up for it. Dougie Hamilton took an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with five seconds left in the first period when he went after Alex Goligoski following a hit on Patrice Bergeron.
The Bruins’ penalty kill took after Dallas’ early in the second period, as Brad Marchand picked off a John Klinberg bid in the high slot and took it the other way with Bergeron. Marchand slid the puck across to Bergeron upon entering the zone, taking the defender with him and leaving Bergeron to deke and back Kari Lehtonen into the net along with the puck.
The goal was Boston’s fifth shorthanded goal scored.
RASK TO THE RESCUE
Niklas Svedberg was given the start Tuesday after returning from his four-game conditioning stint in Providence. It did not last long.
After allowing three first-period goals, the second of which was a bad one to give-up short-side, Svedberg was replaced by Tuukka Rask, who was getting his first breather in 12 games.
Svedberg didn’t appeared to get word, as he skated to the net to begin the second period before Rask caught up with him and seemingly gave him the bad news. The change woke the Bruins up and, obviously, got them better goaltending. Bergeron scored his short-hander 26 seconds in to the period, with Hamilton tying the game at 6:42.
Rask, meanwhile, held up his end of the bargain with a terrific diving blocker save on a Brett Ritchie backhander. He stopped 20 of the 21 shots he faced.