CHICAGO -- If the Bruins beat the Maple Leafs in Toronto Tuesday, it will be as if yesterday never happened. However, until then, they'll spend some time lamenting the one that got away.
Sure, they got a point out of their 2-1 overtime loss yesterday -- their second loss in the extra session in two games -- but they should have had 2. The bottom line: They couldn't cash in on their power play (0 for 3), their penalty killers were overworked (giving up one power-play goal on six Chicago man advantages), and despite generating 32 shots, they didn't get the puck to the net nearly enough.
After left wing P.J. Axelsson put the Bruins ahead, 1-0, at 1:11 of the second period, former Boston defenseman Bryan Berard pulled the Blackhawks even on a power-play goal at 11:04 of the third. Highly coveted rookie Tuomo Ruutu took a pass from center Tyler Arnason and scored at even strength on a second effort at the 4-minute mark of overtime to decide it.
Bruins captain Joe Thornton was upset about two calls made on him, the first of which led to Berard's goal, and the second of which gave Chicago a power play in overtime. The latter call -- hooking Brett McLean -- looked far more like a dive by McLean than a hook by Thornton.
"It's frustrating," said Thornton. "I've already said things about the officials in the past and I think maybe it's not their fault anymore. Maybe it's [NHL director of hockey operations] Colin Campbell telling them not to call dives anymore. I don't know what it is.
"It seems the more diving in the game, the worse off we're going to be as players. It's not getting called. Those were two cheesy calls, I felt. We get fined $1,000 for making dives. I'd like to see Colin Campbell get fined $1,000 for making his referees not make those calls. That's the only way we're going to -- as a group -- get through this bad situation we're in right now."
Bruins coach Mike Sullivan saw it differently. Thornton wasn't the only one in penalty trouble. Axelsson wound up in the box for four minutes for high-sticking early in the third, which led to a 12-second five-on-three advantage before switching to a five-on-four for 3:48. Boston killed it off but it also hurt the attack going the other way.
"I thought we took too many stick infractions," said Sullivan. "You're killing six of the last 20 minutes and two in the overtime. It certainly makes it difficult to maintain momentum. The majority of the hockey game, we controlled the play. We could've shot the puck a little bit more earlier on [instead of] trying to make the extra pass. It's frustrating. The referees are going to call it as they see it.
"We didn't lose the hockey game because of referees. We've got to do a better job of not putting ourselves in a position to take penalties. That's the bottom line. We had an opportunity to control our own destiny and we didn't do it."
Goaltender Andrew Raycroft, arguably the most unflappable player in the Boston dressing room, was noticeably irritated after the loss.
"They scored on a cheesy power-play goal and they scored in overtime," said Raycroft. "Berard's shot went off a stick. You could do that 100 times and it wouldn't go in. It did that time."
The netminder said he felt the Bruins should have had more to show for their efforts.
"We had the territory [edge]," he said. "I don't think we had as many chances as we would've liked. We had the puck in their end a lot but that's just because we cycle the puck so well and they couldn't handle us. We just couldn't get it to the net enough.
"It's frustrating. Two games in a row now we've lost, but in the big picture, it's not the end of the world. We've got 4 points in three games on the road. If we had said that right off the bat, we'd take it, for sure. We got a point and let's go to Toronto. There's not much you can do now."