The Boston Bruins have suffered four tough losses in the past five games. The will to win seems to be slowly diminishing from the team’s state of mind. In games against the New Jersey Devils, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Dallas Stars, the Bruins lost late in the game or collapsed late, ultimately leading to the loss.
Lack of energy has seemed to be the central issue so far this season. Players, such as forward Brad Marchand and defense captain Zdeno Chara have been missing opportunities to boost the team’s mentality and electricity.
Marchand has started and competed in all 14 games so far. He has only scored one goal and assisted on three goals totaling his points to a mere four. Looking back at last season, he was on fire and extremely scrappy and energetic on the ice, forcing his way in front of the net. In the 45 games he appeared in, he scored (18) and assisted (18) on 36 goals. Although he did not play in every game in the half-season, he led the team in goals and points. Overall, last season’s statistics provide information how much he is lacking offensively.
It might just be me, but Marchand, in the past three games, appears to have lost his ‘drive’ and passion to score goals and win games. Hopefully he is having a slow start to the season because otherwise the Bruins will be finishing games with a low score.
(Photo: Associated Press)
Captain Chara. Sure, he has two power play goals on the season, but those are his only two goals. Unlike his defensemen counterparts, Chara has been on the ice when more goals were scored against the Bruins, than scored for. Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg has a plus/minus of +10, leading the team. Adam McQuaid and Dougie Hamilton have a +6 and +5 plus/minus this season. The lack of points is not what bothers me, but the absence of aggression and leadership to win games. In the last five games, Chara released nine shots, six of which came in the win against the Anaheim Ducks. Yes, you are doing the math correct, he did not shoot the puck on net once against the Stars on Tuesday. To add insult to injury, in the past two games (which they lost both) he piled up a -3 plus/minus.
Unfortunately, top players, like these two, aren’t showing up for the Bruins. However, there is a way the team can uplift the negative mentality and overturn the insufficiency regarding their passion to win.
First liners David Krejci, Milan Lucic, and Jarome Iginla need to penetrate the offensive harder, longer, and more often than they have been in previous games. In combining this line, they have 36 points, compared to the whole team, which has 64 points. The fewer shots per game by these three players have extremely affected the outcomes of games. This specific line can help make up for the quiet Bruins offensive and defense by applying more pressure and getting more shots to the net.
Going into Thursday’s game at 7:00p.m. against the Florida Panthers at TD Garden, the Bruins will need to pepper former-Bruin goalie Tim Thomas, who will likely be playing in net. Last time these two teams faced off, the B’s barely came out on top, scoring with one minute left in regulation. The Bruins outshot the Panthers 40-29, so the Bruins, no doubt, will have to fire shot after shot.