Bruins coach irked at calls

MIKE RUTSEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:58 AM ET

The Boston Bruins came to town hunting for momentum.

They didn't figure on tripping and falling on their own swords.

Tight games are usually won by the team that makes the fewest mistakes and last night the Bruins could only fault themselves for dropping a 2-1 decision to the Leafs.

It was brutal game as far as skill and entertainment value goes but the Bruins denied themselves any opportunity to win an ugly one when they gave the Leafs two 5-on-3 advantages that produced both Toronto goals.

Boston coach Mike Sullivan was clearly frustrated on a couple of fronts -- frustrated by allowing a winnable game to slide on by and frustrated by some of the calls.

"If we spent less time in the penalty box I think we would have given ourselves a much better chance," Sullivan said of the 10 penalties his team took. "Five-on-five our team played pretty well. Thirty minutes into the game the shots are 16 to 8 (for Boston).

"But you can't take that many penalties against a team that has one of the best power plays in the league and give them two five-on-threes, it's going to end up in your net."

And that's what happened on Darcy Tucker's goal that tied it in the second period and Bryan McCabe's game-winner in the third.

Just how to defend aggressively in your own end and not end up in the box remains a mystery for a lot of teams and coaches right now.

"It's difficult to try and understand how to get your guys to defend," Sullivan continued. "The first five-on-three I thought our guys did a pretty good job defending it and we end up in the penalty box (for a second penalty). That's just the way it went for us tonight."

Since the Joe Thornton trade Nov. 30, the Bruins have been a team in transition and in search of an identity as much as they are a team in search of much-needed wins.

"We missed an opportunity to get closer to the playoff hunt," Sullivan said of the loss. "As far as confidence or where the direction this team is going, there's no doubt we're getting better.

"Tonight, though, the story of the game was the penalties. It's tough when you take that many."

Especially with one of your players is already in the box.


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