The idea of getting physical is nothing new to the Bruins system of play. There have been many times where teams have fallen after being subjected to fights, hits and aggressive play from the Big Bad Bruins.
That was not tonight.
The Bruins racked up 72 penalty minutes by themselves in the 4-1 loss, including four game misconducts to Zdeno Chara, Nathan Horton, Brad Marchand and Milan Lucic, but only managed a single goal in the process. While the mess transpired on the ice (and literally, trash was thrown on the ice by fans), nothing made the Hurricanes falter or break down like the Bruins had made teams do in the past.
"We obviously frustrated them with our play and we got in their face and aggressive and they were trying to get something going," Carolina captain Eric Staal said. "And when they are doing what they are doing, the refs have no choice but to call penalties when they are penalties and we capitalized eventually on the 5-on-3 and it was a big win."
In the third period alone, 47 minutes worth of penalties were called on the Bruins, and three players ejected from the rest of the game. Within the last ten minutes of play, the Hurricanes added two power play goals, solidifying the harsh loss at home for the Bruins.
Staal even added a little embellishment after his goal to further add salt to the wound.
Nathan Horton took a bad penalty, a double minor for roughing, as well as a game misconduct. Staal took that opportunity to seal the deal and really take the crowd out of the game. After sliding the puck past Rask to make it 3-1, Stall went over to the front row behind the glass and slammed against it with a fist pump.
"Well, it was a little fun, yeah," Staal said. "I mean, you're into the game, you're intense, you're feeling the energy from the crowd, you're feeling the animosity in the building, and you're able to score to make it 3-1 to cap it off, it's a little extra celebration there, but all part of the game."
Tuomo Ruutu added to it 1:32 later, wristing a shot past Rask and turning the ugly into a rancid 4-1 final for the Bruins and forcing fans out of TD Garden in a hurry.
But it wasn't all bad. Just minutes before Horton was tossed, the Bruins actually had it working for them. The crowd was in it, the players knew they had enough time left to come back, and Rich Peverley found the back of the net, on the power play, to put the Bruins within one goal.
That was it. That's where they lost control.
The emotion that was contained soon broke out and what could have been excess fire brought to other games, was now unleashed and uninhibited all over the ice. They lost the edge they had earned back, and now they have to learn how to create it and use it to their advantage.
"We want that controlled emotion," Bruins forward Chris Kelly said. "I think we're at our best when we're playing at a bit of an edge, but a controlled edge. Going out there, working hard, finishing our checks, getting the puck in, sticking up for one another, but not to the point where we're in the box for the majority of the third period."
What could have been an unforgettable game for the Black and Gold turned into a game they hope to forget, especially with Thursday's game against the red hot Maple Leafs. They have to take a look at how they can balance what they have finally rekindled in themselves or else in the end, it's all for not."
"You know, we stuck up for each other," Bruins forward Rich Peverley said. "That's important. But at the end of the day we lost the game. And now we're 2-4."