(Source: CSNNE.com) – The Bruins right winger is mired in an offensive slowdown where he’s scored just one goal in his last 22 games, and was dropped to the fourth line in Sunday’s 2-1 shootout win over the New Jersey Devils at TD Garden. “He just had a tough night, but that’s it. I mean guys . . . it happens,” said a matter-of-fact Claude Julien. “I just adjusted my bench, didn’t think he was helping that line after the first period.”
This move doesn’t come as much of a surprise. In fact, in our most recent “3 Thoughts” blog we wrote that “Brett Connolly might want to score before David Pastrnak comes back or he is going to find himself on the 4th line, or out of the lineup.” He’s just been so snake-bitten it’s unreal and now it’s come full circle. He was brought in last year to score goals on the right wing, has the potential to do so, yet it just hasn’t gone his way since his early season surge. For the most part we have been seeing real hard working plays like this one:
But with emergence of the finishing ability in Frank Vatrano and Landon Ferraro it’s pretty clear Coach Julien has to go with the hotter hands.
I think the hardest part of this for Brett Connolly is that he’s had his chances alongside two of the the most consistent forwards the Bruins have in Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. It doesn’t get much better than playing with those two. Alongside 37 and 63 Connolly has had many point-blank, on the door step, type of opportunities. He just hasn’t finished. Including on these two clips below:
The NHL is a tough league to succeed in. It’s tough even if you’re a former 6th overall pick that’s just 23-years-old and carrying around a heavy shot. That pedigree doesn’t matter if those pucks don’t go in.
There’s no doubt Connolly will continue to put forward the effort he’s shown. It may take one flukey bounce during a grinding 4th line shift to end his scoring drought and get him back to his early season offensive ways.