BOSTON — The Bruins finally saw Milan Lucic break out on Monday night in a shootout win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. Now, as noted philosopher Jay-Z once said, it’s on to the next one.
Lucic’s goal-scoring drought may be over with his second-period tally against the Leafs on Monday night, but the Bruins are far from curing what ails them when it comes to the offensive side of the game. The B’s still only have eight goals in their last five games (not counting the shootout “goal,” which is counted as a goal for some reason), and there are slumps to be found up and down the roster.
Nathan Horton has just one goal in his last 14 games. Tyler Seguin has two goals in his last 10. Brad Marchand has just a pair of tallies in his last 13 games. David Krejci has one goal in the last nine games he’s played.
It’s not like these guys are inspiring confidence at the moment. While Daniel Paille (who has as many goals as Horton this season, mind you), put five shots on goal against the Maple Leafs on Monday night, Horton and Seguin combined for a whopping zero shots. It’s tough to get on Marchand’s case, especially with the way he started the season, but it’s becoming fairly obvious that he’s lost his goal-scoring touch as well for the time being.
Of course, Bruins head coach Claude Julien has noticed.
“More than Marchy [is frustrated],” Julien said Monday night. “But you’re right, you know, he’s a guy that has scored quite a bit on the regular basis and he’s not. And we’ve got a lot of other guys, and that’s probably the main issue right now and that’s why they’re tight games. With the players that we have and the players that should be scoring, a lot of them are a little dry right now, and it creates some tight games like you saw tonight.”
Perhaps the Bruins would be best-served by taking a page out of Lucic’s playbook. The big power forward finally got back to moving his feet Monday night and playing his “simple” style of hockey. That clearly paid off for No. 17. It wouldn’t hurt the rest of the supposed goal-scorers to start doing the same. Like Lucic, the rest of the bunch needs to focus on the process, not the product, which is admittedly easier said than done.
These types of droughts hurt even more that they’ve all come at the same time. Julien tried to address the issue on Monday night by shaking up his lines, a move that was probably a little overdue to be honest. But then again, Julien went back to the “original” lines in the third period where the B’s scored the game-tying goal.
But it seems to all come back to just making sure guys are kicking up the compete level and doing the little things to get their offensive game kick-started. Julien, Lucic and Patrice Bergeron all talked about the importance of moving their feet to generate offense. Bergeron praised Paille for his ability to do so on Monday night, and while the effort didn’t produce any goals, Paille did chip in with a game-high five shots on goal.
The Bruins are going to need more of that moving forward. That’s not going to be easy, though. They’re in the midst of a brutal stretch right now, a stretch has no doubt taken away from their skating legs, an obviously crucial part to the whole “moving your feet” idea.
But the Bruins aren’t alone in playing a brutal schedule. Julien conceded he was going to look into ways to assuage the fatigue factor, by fiddling with the schedule some. The Bruins canceled morning skate on Monday to get a little more rest. They canceled practice on Tuesday as well, with a big showdown with the Montreal Canadiens awaiting them Wednesday.
If all of that doesn’t work, maybe it’s a trade or a roster move before the deadline to shake things up.
Maybe when you add it all up, a combination of all of the above will the magical formula that will get a bunch of tired legs moving again, and in turn, get pucks finding the mesh. Either way, they need it start working soon, as the club’s current offensive pace likely won’t cut it.