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From the Garden: Bruins shutout by Blues

The Boston Bruins saw their three-game winning streak snapped and possible shot to take possession of first place in the Atlantic Division Tuesday night at the TD Garden, as the St. Louis Blues shut them out, 2-0.

Tuukka Rask made 27 saves for the Bruins and Blues (21-11-4) goalie Jake Allen stopped all 32 shots for his fourth shutout of the season, which is good enough for second best in the NHL. This is the first time the Bruins have been shutout this season.

The Bruins drop to 19-10-4 (42 points) and suffer just their second regulation loss (11-2-3) in the past 16 games, as they’ve marched back up the standings after an ugly 0-3 start to the season.

“Well, I think that’s one of the messages I gave the team, is that it’s not a fun loss, it stings. We knew what the opportunity was, but at the same time let’s not forget what’s happened here in the last month and a half or so,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “We’ve played some pretty decent hockey, so sometimes a loss like that just brings you back to reality and say, ‘Listen, we don’t get to where we are by accident, we gotta make sure that we play well and we do the things that we need to do to win.’ And we didn’t do that tonight, so maybe a little bit of a wakeup call to the guys.

“But at the same time, I like the direction our team has taken in the last month and a half and we should take advantage of that and take those three days and get some rest and hopefully come back and be as hungry as we have been in the last while.”

Coming into tonight, the Bruins sat one point behind the Montreal Canadians (20-12-3, 43 points), who also fell, 2-1, to the Minnesota Wild Tuesday night, bringing their losing streak to five games. 

“Yeah, it would have been really nice to go into the break here with that spot, but it didn’t happen, and we still have some games in hand, so hopefully we can continue to play well after Christmas and get those points,” Julien said on how badly the Bruins wanted to overtake Montreal for first place tonight.

The Bruins outshot the Blues 32-29, but didn’t have many real scoring chances, as they struggled to get the puck in front of the net. Finally, Vladimir Tarasenko beat Tuukka Rask on a break away in the third period for the first score of the game, which wound up being the game-winner.

“There was a lot of times we were shooting and we had no net-front presence, they were boxing us out and we weren’t working hard enough to get on the inside,” Julien said. “Same thing on some of those rushes, tried to get cute versus just getting pucks at the net, not forcing plays and being a little bit hungrier, like I said, with that middle drive. Those are – after two periods, I think it’s a pretty even game, it’s a chess match. They got a break there with their most dangerous guy on a breakaway, [Vladimir] Tarasenko, opened up the scoring and that was probably the thing that stung the most.”

Blues center Robby Fabbri added an insurance goal five minutes later beating Rask shoulder side.

The Blues did a good job of playing physical hockey with the Bruins, out hitting them 34-32.

“I think it was a good game,” Bruins forward Brad Marchand said. “It was more like a playoff game tonight. They’re a really good team. We did have a few good opportunities early on, and even later in the game, but their goalie made some big saves, and they were able to capitalize on the breakdowns we had tonight, and that’s how it goes.”

The Bruins return to action December 26th against the Sabres and collide with the Habs, two games later, in the Winter Classic.

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