The back-and-forth-and-back was not welcome. It did not say good things about the Bruins. While yes, the hosts were able to score in the final minute of the second period and, yes, they were able to answer another Canucks goal early in the third, they were also undisciplined and sloppy.
They did not manage the puck the way they should have Thursday night, did not play the mostly responsible game they have of late, the kind of play that led to their three-game winning streak.
That streak is no longer active, after the Bruins dropped a 4-2 loss to the Canucks at TD Garden, with Daniel Sedin picking up not just the game-winner and an empty-netter, but also breaking the Vancouver franchise's goal-scoring record.
"Some puck management or some sloppy plays, a lot of giveaways and turnovers," said Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Didn't think we were at our best here tonight."
Still, even with the problematic play, the Bruins matched the Canucks twice. Sven Baertschi had opened the scoring just 3:27 into the game, taking a blueline-to-blueline chip from Radim Vrbata that resulted in a breakaway, beating Torey Krug and then Kevan Miller, and sending it through the pads of Tuukka Rask for a goal that the goalie likely wanted back.
"Millsy was on him and then he lost the puck and I went to flip it in the corner and then somehow he got a poke at it and my stick wasn't there anymore," Rask said. "So it's one of those bad timing plays on my part. I just got my stick out of the way. I was going to flip it to the corner because I saw he lost it, but then he kind of dove in and poked it. So, looks bad but obviously it happens sometimes."
And the Bruins did redeem themselves. Though it took until there were just 51.7 seconds left in the second, Jimmy Hayes made sure the Bruins went into the third period tied.
Hayes collected the puck, took it around the outside of the left faceoff circle, then took the bank shot off of the backside of Christopher Tanev for his 11th of the season, beating Jacob Markstrom (28 saves).
But, again, the two teams traded goals. After Alex Burrows scored 1:49 into the third period, Brad Marchand tied the game with a wrister from the top of the left circle through a Brett Connolly screen. It was the left wing's 18th of the year, with the assist going to Patrice Bergeron at 4:15.
Back it went, of course. And, at 7:03 of the period, Tanev put the puck on net, leading to a short rebound just to the right of the goal. Daniel Sedin was there and open and available, netting the 347th goal of his career. He would later get 348, the empty-netter with 23 seconds left.
Still, the Bruins again had a chance to tie it, a golden, point-blank shot later in the third period by Loui Eriksson that Markstrom stopped with a pad save.
"It's frustrating, but I think more frustrating is the way we played today," Rask said. "We went back to how we used to play early on in the season, but yeah, I guess go to work tomorrow and try to figure it out – get the battle level and heads in the game."
He later added, "I think progressively they got better and better as the game went on and in the third period, they just had three-on-twos and four-on-twos, odd-man rushes the whole time and guys were open around the net. So that's something we used to do a lot and we've kind of gotten away from."
The Bruins had come into the game on a roll. But with two players returning – David Krejci and Landon Ferraro – Julien changed up his lines. Ryan Spooner moved to the third line, starting the game with Matt Beleskey and Jimmy Hayes. Krejci got David Pastrnak, who had a growing-pains type of game, and eventually moved to Spooner's line. The fourth line was reunited, with Ferraro back in, but did not have nearly the impact of the last week.
The Bruins came out well in the first 20 minutes, as Julien said, that was also deceiving. Boston led the Canucks 11-4 in shots on net in the period, and yet Vancouver was the only team to turn a chance into an actual goal.
"As much as it looked good in the first period, I think we might have had four scoring chances," Julien said. "A lot of it were good shots, but high slot and we didn't have net-front presence. They were, a lot of them from the outside.
"We should have had more. We needed a better start. We needed to get to the front of the net a lot better. Their goaltending has been good – both of their goaltenders have played well for them and have kept them in a lot of games. That was the case tonight."
And thus they Bruins weren't able to add a fourth game to their streak.
"We battled back every time," Ferraro said. "It's just when you play a sloppy game it's going to bite you."
Amalie Benjamin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amaliebenjamin.