Going into Monday night’s game the New Jersey Devils were doing what they usually do. They had lost 10 of their last 12 games which included 4 of their last 5 at home. So with a chance to take advantage of a struggling team at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, and win their third game in a row, the B’s rolled into Newark and did exactly what we expected; give up an early goal, look relatively uninspired, and lose.
In a similar situation back in early December it took a miracle last second own goal kicked in by a Carolina Hurricane to save the B’s shirt. Within a few weeks the dead in the water Avs put a sleepy Bruins team away. Same against Toronto, the Islanders, and then Carolina once again. All these basement teams (outside the recent Maple Leaf surge) seem to bring out, well… nothing, in the Bruins. It is automatic that these games are near unwatchable. It’s a habitual problem with the B’s and it’s what will keep you out of the playoffs.
You could say this kinda shit is getting really old.
And it’d be one thing if the Bruins were firing on all cylinders, regardless of their scoring issues, and bringing an energy to those types of games. Maybe take a page from the old saying “it’s not hard to work hard”? But they don’t.
So here’s a couple quick final thoughts from the nauseating performance in New Jersey:
- The power play was awful once again. When down 2-0 late in the 3rd period and desperately needing a goal the Bruins failed to even get a single shot on net. At this point it may not hurt if the coaching staff blew it up and tried completely new combos for a game. I still think it’s worth it to try Chara in front of the net like the old days.
- Brad Marchand‘s late penalties kind of encompassed the entire game. Untimely, undisciplined, frustrated decisions. What is supposed to be one of their best scorers, Marchand essentially said “I’ve had enough” with seven minutes to go and carelessly did what he wanted because he was pissed. I love the guy, but it was tough to watch go down.
- The big guns need to wake up offensively. I know that’s stating the obvious but when you see performances like Monday’s it’s amplified. These are the games you’re supposed to come alive. Even the dangerous David Pastrnak appeared at half speed most of the game. And with most Eastern Conference teams holding games in hand on the B’s there isn’t time left to dick around. Monday should have been a game to feast on.
- Dominic Moore and crew were the hardest working guys on the ice. That’s a reoccurring theme for the fourth line. After attending the game vs the Sabres on Saturday it also confirmed for me just how smart of a player Moore is. His decision making is fantastic and it really helps his young energy filled liney’s immensely. Thus Anton Blidh also had a strong, pestering effort in Jersey. It’s a bad thing if they’re the B’s best line, but give them credit. They were definitely buzzing (again).
- The press can just copy/paste this Claude Julien quote about every week. It’s the same mantra over and over:It’s inexcusable and pretty tiring to hear to be honest. When does it end? And when is it fixed? It starts at the top, not just with the coaches, but also the M.I.A. offensive leaders as well.
- The Bruins are in trouble. They currently have 44 points which put them 3rd in the Atlantic Division. That’s the same amount of points as the Ottawa Senators but Ottawa has 3 games in hand. The Tampa Bay Lightning are just 2 points behind the Bruins with 2 games in hand. Yikes. That’s not a rosy picture to look at. One has to hope that Ottawa comes down to earth a little bit. The Sens sit at a -4 in goal differential. The Bruins were +1 in goal differential before tonight’s debacle but now sit at -2. The Lightning are +4. And you have to expect once the Lightning get Steven Stamkos and Ben Bishop back they will go on a run. I do not see this Bruins team going on a run to match Tampa. It also looks like only three teams from the Atlantic Division will make the playoffs which makes it even more important to beat the teams your supposed to beat. Like New Jersey.
It will not get any easier for the B’s going forward either. They welcome the speedy Edmonton Oilers and old friend Milan Lucic to the TD Garden on Thursday. And we know how that goes. Boston does not usually fair too well against highly skilled and fast teams. Simply put, because of routine subpar performances against the NHL’s weakest teams the Bruins could be out of the playoff picture by the end of the week with the Lightning ready to pounce.