Bruins close out year with clunker

Bruins close out year with clunker
January 1, 2014, 12:45 am
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Patrice Bergeron is denied by Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov.

(USA Today Sports Images)

BOSTON – The Bruins were due for a clunker on their home ice, and that’s exactly what happened in closing out the 2013 calendar with a New Year’s Eve whimper.

“It sucks to end of the year of 2013 this way,” admitted Milan Lucic, following the loss he was booted from late in the third period when he collected 14 penalty minutes after a heated argument with referee Brad Meier.

The Bruins allowed four power-play goals and they took a boatload of bad penalties mixed in with some questionable calls. Tuukka Rask let up the second-most goals of the season behind only the 6-1 shellacking the night before Thanksgiving and the Bruins handed the New York Islanders four unanswered goals to close things out in a 5-3 loss at TD Garden.

“When we took the 3-1 lead, we kind of relaxed and they came back hard. They kind of got the momentum back and we couldn’t regain it,” said coach Claude Julien. “They made their own breaks, and they made their breaks by getting some good bounces and got themselves back in the game.
But in the third period, they were the better team, again. We lost because I think it was, like you said, probably self-inflicted. We took a lot of ill-advised penalties that at one point caught up to us, and I didn’t think our penalty kill obviously was very good tonight.”

There wasn’t much that was very good about the Black and Gold on Tuesday night.

It wasn’t as one-sided a loss as the defeat at the hands of the Red Wings a month ago or as eye-opening as the four power-play goals surrendered to the New Jersey Devils in October. But it was still frustrating for a Bruins team that felt like things were well in hand when they went up 3-1 in the second period, but must have forgotten that the Isles were riding high after coming back from a three-goal deficit against the Minnesota Wild  on Sunday night.

John Tavares and Kyle Okposo showed the Bruins what a little New York star-power looks like combining for three goals and seven points along with 11 generated shot attempts. David Krejci led all skaters with seven shots on net and scored the game’s first goal while still clocking in at a plus-1 when the game was over, and could have been satisfied with his own individual effort.

But nobody was very happy in the B’s dressing room after an embarrassing loss on home ice to a team that entering that game was 11 points out of a playoff position in the brutal Metro Division.

“We felt like we could have scored a couple more goals, we felt like we could have defended a little better and we also felt like we could have had a couple more power plays,” said Krejci. “It was just a tough night for us. Obviously it’s disappointing but we have to regroup and move on and we have our next game in a couple days so we have to be better.”

The Bruins are riding a two-game losing streak after losses to the lowly Senators and Islanders, but they’ll get another chance to right the ship against a weak sister when the Nashville Predators come to town on Thursday.