Originally written on NHL Hot Stove  |  Last updated 10/19/11

By Brandon Macdonald

When a rope has too much pressure pulling on it, it snaps. When an animal is cornered something makes it go off and attack. When a hockey team is under the pressure of the fans, coaches and most importantly themselves, something has got to give.

That has been happening to this season’s edition of the Boston Bruins. After a remarkable Stanley Cup Championship run, the team has found themselves off to a rocky start in the 2011-12 campaign. Through only six games the team’s record is 2-4-0, losing three of their last four games.

The lack of goals scored (10) has led to the team pressing and getting more and more frustrated. With only two goals with the man advantage  — a recurring enemy from last season — the squad’s past demons continue to haunt them.

Frustration has set in with the club and it’s showing on the ice. In their most recent game, when they hosted the Carolina Hurricanes — who already beat the Bruins 3-2 in Raleigh on October 12 — the team faced their breaking point. The boys in black and gold surrendered nine power play opportunities to the Canes, who were successful on two of those chances, as well as five misconducts. The team even had to serve a penalty for the home crowd throwing debris on the ice. Clearly it’s not only the players getting frustrated with the teams struggles early on.

It hasn’t been for a lack of goaltending, as both Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask have played solid hockey, but the Bruins can’t seem to find that extra punch and finish off their oponents. The only example of emotion and spark the team has shown was in the shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks, which also featured a third period comeback. Aside from that it has been lackluster performances from Boston.

Getting production from the top line is essential for any team to succeed. The Bruins have gotten two goals from the first unit of Milan Lucic, David Krejci (currently injured) and Nathan Horton. The frustration from Horton and Lucic boiled over against the Canes as both forwards picked up a combined total of 28 PIM, while the captain Zdeno Chara nabbed 19 alone.

While we are only six games into the season, the team has not detracted naysayers from saying they are doomed for a season of Stanley Cup hangover. However, the product on the ice thus far has not been what you would call elite. On any given night the Bruins will be facing a team looking to take two points from the defending champs and they have failed to step up to meet their effort thus far.

Brandon Macdonald
NHLHS Editor
Twitter @bMacdonald8

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