It looked like the Bruins had snapped out of their recent malaise. They outshot Dallas 15-1 over the first 10 minutes of Tuesday’s game, and out-attempted them 21-1. Sure, the Stars scored on their one chance, but the Bruins answered back just 38 seconds later. Then the dominance continued.
You had to figure the Bruins were on the verge of breaking through with another goal or two. When a game is that lopsided, it’s usually only a matter of time before the levee breaks.
But the levee didn’t break. The Bruins’ pressure slowed throughout the remainder of the first period, and by the second period it was pretty much non-existent. The B’s reverted to the bad habits and mental mistakes of the last week and a half — a span in which they are now 1-3-1 — and found themselves on their heels throughout the middle frame.
“First 10 minutes were good, and then we got back to some of our old habits,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien . “Eventually, when you play that way, you find ways to lose hockey games, and that’s what we’re doing right now. We’re finding ways to lose.”
Despite being outshot 13-4 in the second, the Bruins still found themselves in a tied game entering the third. When Milan Lucic  tipped in a Dougie Hamilton shot with 8:21 to go, it looked like the Bruins might even pull out the win after all.
Instead, they had one more costly mistake in them — a bad line change that gave Vernon Fiddler a breakaway. Dennis Seidenberg  hauled him down from behind, and Fiddler scored on the ensuing penalty shot. The Stars went on to win in a shootout.
“We’re making costly turnovers in areas which we usually don’t, that’s made us a successful team over the past few years,” Lucic said. “It just seems like everything is out of sync right now, and right now we’ve got to do whatever we can to try to get ourselves out of this jam, out of this funk. Frustration is not going to help us get through it. We’ve got to dig deep and start doing things the right way if we want to start playing better.”
Most of the Bruins have been through stretches like this before. Last year, they lost five of seven toward the end of March, then seven of nine to close out the regular season. In 2011-12, it was a 3-7-0 start to the season, and later a four-game losing streak in March. In the 2010-11 season (that’s the one that ended with a Stanley Cup ), they lost four of five on SIX different occasions.
It happens. The season is too long not to have these lulls. It doesn’t mean the Bruins shouldn’t work their tails off to try to get out of it. It doesn’t mean Julien shouldn’t shake things up if he feels the need to. But it also doesn’t mean anyone should be panicking.
“It’s a long season. It’s never going to be perfect from the first game to the last,” Lucic said. “But as a player and as a professional, you have to worry about the things that you can control, and that’s work ethic and your effort and your commitment and focus and all that type of stuff. It seems like those are the things that are costing us right now.
“Fortunately, in the past, we’ve gotten strong by being able to get through funks like this. But just because we’ve gotten through it before doesn’t mean it’s just going to happen again. We have to find a way to find a way to do it.”