By Danny Picard
BOSTON -- The Bruins will take the point, and they'll move on.
It wasn't a 60-minute effort for the B's on Saturday night at the TD Garden. So they were fortunate enough to have played 61:52 of hockey against a depleted Pittsburgh Penguins team.
The Pens were missing Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin to injury. But in fairness to the Bruins, they were missing two of their star players as well, in Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron.
Bergeron is the only one of those players who isn't injured. He was attending to a personal issue and is expected to return to the team on Monday.
But in his absence, the Bruins that were in Saturday's lineup, weren't the same Bruins that just rattled off seven straight wins, including six straight on the road.
Instead, they looked like a team that, at times, didn't want it as bad as Pittsburgh. But also, the combination of poor offensive execution and even worse defensive decisions in their own zone, cost them dearly in the 3-2 overtime loss.
But you can't win them all. The Bruins know that, even if they're holding themselves to a higher standard of hockey than they showed against the Penguins on Saturday.
"If you're going to take one overtime loss in eight games, that's not a bad thing," said Bruins coach Claude Julien after the loss. "We just felt that, we're expecting a lot out of ourselves right now, and we're disappointed that we didn't get that second point."
Perhaps they shouldn't have even obtained the first one.
After Zdeno Chara gave the B's a 1-0 lead, 7:26 into the second period, things got ugly.
That ugliness began with Johnny Boychuk's poor decision to pinch at the middle of the Pittsburgh blue line, trying to keep a puck in the offensive zone. He was unable to do so, and as a result, the Penguins skated down and converted on a 2-on-1 to tie the game at 1-1. Just 1:10 later, it seemed the B's were still feeling the effects of Boychuk's poor decision to pinch, and they were caught standing around flat-footed on defense, leading to Dustin Jeffrey's goal from the slot that seemed all too easy for the Penguins to score.
The Bruins battled harder in the third, but it didn't look like that hard work was going to pay off. It seemed as if it was too little, too late.
Especially as Boston's No. 1 villain, Matt Cooke, skated down the left wing with under a minute to play in regulation, staring at an empty Bruins net in front of him.
Tim Thomas had been pulled, in order for the B's to send out the extra attacker, in the hopes that they could somehow find a way to get a last-minute goal and send the game into overtime.
Then, as if Boston's hockey gods had written the script, Cooke's shot at the empty net was blocked by defenseman Tomas Kaberle, and the Bruins turned it quickly up-ice for one final shot at OT.
Then, with 32.5 seconds left in regulation, David Krejci took a Milan Lucic pass in the slot, and sniped the top-left corner to tie the game at 2-2, giving the Bruins a point that they'll accept, even if Jeffrey's overtime goal sent the B's home with a loss.
"Every once in a while, you rely on that sixth attacker to help you gain a point, and we'll take that tonight," said Julien. "But lately, we've been winning games because we've been playing 60 minutes. And tonight wasn't the case."
"We didn't have our best game, that's for sure," said Chara after the loss. "We just had heavy legs, we didn't skate well, and we didn't move the puck well. On the other side, Pittsburgh played extremely well. They put a lot of pressure on us. They took away our space and time. We couldn't create much. Even though they played back-to-back games, they had pretty good jump and energy. It almost felt like we were the team who played last night.
"We worked extremely hard in the third and earned that point. That's a positive. Obviously we'd like to get two, but it happens."
They'll take it, and they'll move on.
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.