The Boston Bruins knew they weren't going to earn a point in all 48 games this season, though the fashion in which their streak ended was a bit discouraging.
That's quite the opposite feeling they had after each meeting with the Toronto Maple Leafs last season.
Boston heads to Toronto looking to get back to its winning ways with a seventh consecutive victory in this series Saturday night.
The Bruins (5-1-1) fell one victory short of matching the best start in franchise history after squandering a 3-1 lead in Thursday's 7-4 loss to Buffalo. It was their first loss in 44 games when they held at least a two-goal advantage.
"We had a great start," forward Milan Lucic said. "You're bound to lose at some point."
It also marked the first time they've allowed at least seven goals in regulation since an 8-2 loss to Toronto on March 6, 2008.
"Defensively, I don't think I remember the last time we were this bad - the breakdowns and mistakes we made," coach Claude Julien said.
Brad Marchand scored twice and Rich Peverley added his first goal of the season for Boston, which had allowed six goals combined while winning its previous three.
"We usually pride ourselves on defense and being a hard team to play against," Peverley said. "We'll have to regroup here and look to really play a better defensive game in Toronto."
That mostly was the case when the Bruins faced the Maple Leafs last season, as they outscored Toronto 36-10 - including victories of 7-0 and 8-0 - while sweeping all six meetings.
Tuukka Rask's lone appearance was a 22-save effort in a 4-1 win Dec. 3, 2011, improving to 6-1-0 with a 1.56 goals-against average in seven career starts versus the Leafs.
Tyler Seguin, drafted in 2010 with the No. 2 overall pick Boston acquired in the trade that sent Phil Kessel to Toronto, had seven goals and four assists in last season's series.
Kessel, meanwhile, has scored in only two of his 18 games against his former team while posting a minus-18 rating. He has four assists this season but has yet to score after setting career highs with 37 goals and 45 assists in 2011-12.
"The goals are going to come," coach Randy Carlyle said. "He's just got to continue to keep working and not get down.
"It's a team game. It's not just about one individual. Our job as a coaching staff is to make sure we focus on the team."
The Maple Leafs (4-3-0) have not needed his production lately as they've won two straight, winning at Buffalo 4-3 on Tuesday before earning their first home victory in three tries with Thursday's 3-2 win over Washington.
"The work ethic that they displayed and the energy that they provided," Carlyle said, "now they're in trouble because they've done it for two games in a row and the coach is going to expect it every game."
Kessel and Tyler Bozak assisted on James van Riemsdyk's power-play goal in the first period Thursday, though it was the only time Toronto converted in eight chances with the man advantage.
The Leafs have gone 2 for 20 on the power play at home.
The Bruins' opponents are 2 for 31 on the power play, though they've gone only 3 for 28 themselves with the man advantage.
Boston will be missing forward Shawn Thornton, who is out 7-10 days after suffering a concussion in a fight with Sabres forward John Scott on Thursday.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
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