BROSSARD, Quebec — In the words of Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, Game 3 was “a game of frustration,” a game in which his team wasn’t able to do what it wanted to do, at least not enough to take a win against the Canadiens at the Bell Centre.
“You can truly dissect it and you can get into all the details, and you can say, ‘Well, this detail wasn’t taken care of,’ ” Chiarelli said Wednesday, uncharacteristically addressing the media in the middle of a series. “It’s a game of inches. You can dissect the other team’s game and you could say the same thing.
“At the end of the day, they scored more goals than we did and we lost. But it’s a game of inches and . . . we have to be better at it. And we’re good at that. I think we’re a good team, we break out well. I think our neutral zone is good, I think our forecheck is good. It wasn’t as good as it should be, but that happens.
“It’s a long series, and we’ll see where it goes.”
Asked about the play of Tuukka Rask, Chiarelli said the goaltender was “one of many that have to play better.” He declined to be more specific about which players he meant, repeating only, “One of many.”
The Bruins — who had the best record in the NHL this season — head into Thursday’s Game 4 down, two games to one. They are down partially because they have not started well, getting into two-goal deficits in each game.
“It’s hard to play catch-up all the time,” Chiarelli said. “We’re a good team with the lead, but actually we’ve done quite well this year outside of the playoffs when we don’t have the lead.
“But it’s taxing. You know, you end up chasing a lot. And whenever you chase, it gets a little frustrating.”
Now the team needs to get back to the details, to doing what it does best.
“I was asked about finding lanes,” said Chiarelli. “To me that’s detail. You’ve got to be able to see the lane and move into where the lane is.
“It’s meat and potatoes for us — sustaining a forecheck and wearing teams down, and when we’re at the top of our game, that’s what we do. We haven’t done it yet.”
“They know they have to be better,” said coach Claude Julien. “They’re going to be better, that’s the confidence we have in our group and the way we’ve been in the past, and you’ve got to rely on those guys to come up tomorrow and play the kind of game they can.
“It’s a 2-1 series, it’s not the end of the world here. We’ve just got to battle back. There’s no reason to panic. We haven’t in the past and we’re not about to panic now.”
Shooting for more
One issue for the Bruins is that they weren’t able to get their shots through, unlike Montreal, which consistently has gotten shots through from the stick of P.K. Subban.
The Canadiens managed to block 29 of the Bruins’ shots in Game 3, with Zdeno Chara having four shots blocked, and Johnny Boychuk six.
“I’ve seen them play quite a bit this year, and they’ve got guys that want to block shots,” Chiarelli said. “They find the lanes to get into. For me, size has no bearing on whether you want to block a shot or not, it’s just you want to.
“You’ve got to find lanes. You’ve got to work to find lanes.
“I thought they did a good job in the neutral zone, and I think [Carey] Price has played well. For us it’s about moving our feet and just working a little harder in all areas.”
Decision on defense?
Though the return of Dennis Seidenberg continues to be tantalizing — the defenseman skated again Wednesday, with a skeleton crew of teammates — for now the Bruins need to find some consistency from the left side of their second pairing.
At the moment, they are choosing between Andrej Meszaros and Matt Bartkowski, neither of whom has particularly impressed.
Bartkowski was sent to the press box after a difficult Game 1 in which he took two crucial penalties, including the one that led to the winning goal by Subban in double overtime. He was replaced by Meszaros, who took his own bad penalty in Game 2 while the Bruins and Canadiens were skating four-on-four, leading to another power-play goal for Montreal.
“I’m not going to comment on that,” Chiarelli said. “That’s a lineup decision. These guys have been good for us. Bart has been good for us. He had to come in when Seidenberg got hurt, and he had to find his game and he had to fit in and he’s done that. He got sick and he got out of synch a little bit.
“Mez, we acquired Mez in a trade. I didn’t mind his game [Tuesday] night. I think everyone can make a mistake here or there. He made a good play on the goal. So my confidence level is really irrelevant.”
Chiarelli didn’t want to take on the mini-controversy in Game 3 when Subban knocked the net off its moorings in the final seconds. Asked whether Subban did it on purpose, and whether the referees should have called a penalty, Chiarelli said, “Calls get missed. And they can say the same thing about stuff that our guys do. To me it looked like he knocked it off. But you can get, for every person that says he knocked it, you could get another person that says he didn’t purposely knock it off.” Said Julien, “This is all stuff that we can’t control. Referees make those calls and you move forward. I’m going to be honest with you: If we rely on the referees to give us the breaks, then we certainly don’t have our focus in the right place. We need to make our own breaks. We can look at all this little stuff on the side and it’s something that we don’t control and complain about it, that’s not what we do. We have to be honest here and tell ourselves we need to be better.” . . . The Bruins practiced at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, with just a few players taking the ice. Those who participated were Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Jordan Caron, Bartkowski, Corey Potter, Seidenberg, and Chad Johnson.Follow Amalie Benjamin on Twitter at @amaliebenjamin.