When a team has won three of their last four games, it’s hard to say that the team has not played well in recent games, but let’s not fool ourselves here folks, the Bruins have not been playing all that well.
Coming off an emotional 4-3 loss just ten days ago to the Vancouver Canucks it seems the Bruins have taken a step backwards. The Bruins failed to put forth 60-minute efforts in wins against the Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens, games they could have easily lost if not for the efforts of goalies Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas.
The B’s followed up their back-to-back wins with a lackluster loss to the Carolina Hurricanes where the Bruins failed to hold a third period lead for the first time all season.
The Bruins were very disappointed in their efforts Saturday evening in Carolina and after the loss head coach Claude Julien made it known he knows his teams has to be better.
“We need to be sharper in all areas. Our battle level has to be better. Our passing and willingness to take pucks to the net need improvement, basically our whole game has slipped” said Julien. “We’re not to the point of being a bad team, but it’s slipped to us being a very mediocre team right now. We need to bring it back to the level that’s expected of our group.”
The Bruins were better in last night’s 3-2 shootout win over the Florida Panthers, but still not good enough for Julien’s liking.
“Our battle was better, but obviously the sharpness in our decision-making wasn’t. When you give up four breakaways in a game that says a lot about the sharpness in your game” said Julien. “I was definitely disappointed in that, but when things are tough you need to find a way to win.”
Luckily for the Bruins Rask stopped three of those breakaways and then stopped three more in the shootout setting up David Krejci for the game winning shootout goal, two points that in reality the Bruins stole from the Panthers.
Rask and the rest of the Bruins know that they were once again not at their best last night, but are happy to earn two points yet again.
“I didn’t think we played our best again,” said Rask who made 38 saves in the win. “But we were able to get the win. It was a grind. There’s still lots to improve. We have what, six games left before the All-Star break and we really want to finish these games on a good note to be able to enjoy that break.”
The Bruins sit pretty in the standings as they are just one point behind the Eastern Conference leading New York Rangers and three points ahead of the Ottawa Senators—Bruins have five games in hand— for the lead in the Northeast division.
If the Bruins start to drop some of these games they struggle in, it could get ugly for the B’s as the Rangers and Senators are continuing to win games night in and night out.
The Bruins look to get back to “Bruins hockey” when they travel to Tampa Bay tonight to take on the struggling Lightning. The “Bolts” who lost their last seven now find themselves tied with the New York Islanders for dead last in the Eastern Coinference.
The Bruins once again will be without Rich Peverley who is attending to a personal matter back home, and Brad Marchand who sits out the fifth and final game of his suspension for clipping Canucks defensemen Sami Salo