The Boston Bruins came back from a six-game road trip, got three new players and proceeded to lose their homecoming game 1-0 against the Ottawa Senators.
The Bruins fired 32 shots at goalie Robin Lehner, who was playing just his third game of the season and improves his record to 3-0-0, but not a single one beat him. In the first two periods, the Bruins were outshot (13 to seven in the first, 18 to eight in the second), but for the third, they reversed the tide and tried 17 shots to Ottawa’s seven. The third period was really when the team showed more of an overall effort and attempt to win. However, at that point it was too little, too late.
The first two periods were marked by clumsy, rhythm-less play and mistakes with the puck that could have been even more costly if Tim Thomas hadn’t been so sharp between the pipes. Thomas made some breathtaking stops, including one John Bishop described as him being in “tornado mode.” He was only unable to stop one shot, a power play try by Erik Karlsson, and that was partly because he had Daniel Alfredsson on top of him with his legs tangled in his goal stick. (In this video, notice how at 12 seconds in, Alfredsson literally trips when Thomas moves his arm after the goal is scored.)
Coach Claude Julien liked Thomas’ performance. “You need your goalie to be good on these types of nights to give you a chance. He was good and gave us a chance,” he said. The rest of the team just couldn’t capitalize on the chance their goaltender gave them.
The home crowd did welcome newcomers Mike Mottau and Brian Rolston warmly. (Greg Zanon was in the press box, but should play on March 1 against the New Jersey Devils.) Both were greeted with applause, Rolston won his first faceoff and the organist played “For Boston” in honor of Boston College grad Mottau. Rolston also spent some time in the penalty box on a tripping call.
But anyone expecting any sustained physical confrontation after the last Boston/Ottawa meeting came away disappointed. Joe Corvo, who previously said he wanted to seek revenge on Kyle Turris, did nothing after Colin Greening told him that Turris was uninterested in fighting. Zdeno Chara looked like he wanted to go with Chris Neil again, but the officials stopped him. Shawn Thornton seemed to be looking to make a mark, but again he was not allowed to either.
The Bruins have Leap Day off, but face the Devils next to start a March that is going to be very busy for the team, including three sets of back to back games.
Not-so-fun fact: This month is the high-water mark for the Bruins being shut out in the entire history of the team, according to Michael Berger of WEEI.