A Bruins team looking for its first regulation win in close to two weeks had plenty of positives to draw from 40 minutes of play against the Maple Leafs on Friday night.
A makeshift second line of David Krejci, Charlie Coyle and Anders Bjork combined for a 5v5 tally against Frederik Andersen in the opening stanza, while Tuukka Rask — tagged with an .868 save percentage over his previous three outings — stopped 23 of the 24 shots that came his way, the lone blemish being a deflection by Auston Matthews in front.
Above all, the Bruins had managed to enter the second intermission all even with their Original Six foe.
But for a B's club desperately trying to right the ship and stave off its first five-game losing streak since March 2016 — a 1-1 deadlock wasn't nearly good enough, especially after the Leafs out-attempted Boston, 31-15, during 5v5 play in the second stanza.
Before the Bruins returned to the ice at Scotiabank Arena, Bruce Cassidy opted to set aside his top forward trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak — a group "limited" to only four goals and seven total points over this four-game skid.
After failing to cash in against a Leafs' defense that has surrendered the fourth-most 5v5 hi-danger scoring chances this season, Cassidy opted to "tweak" his top line, as he put it.
What exactly did he mean by that?
"We just challenged a bit," Cassidy said postgame. "'Are we tired of losing?' Or 'Do we want to get playing the right way?' And I think they responded well."
Marchand, without a multi-point effort since Boston's last regulation win back on Nov. 4, clearly got the message.