It’s no secret that the Boston Bruins have some major holes right now, and it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Those holes were even more glaring when the Black and Gold compiled one of their worst performances of the season in Tuesday’s 5-2 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Luckily, not all was lost for the Bruins despite the loss. With a game in hand on the Montreal Canadiens, who lost 3-2 to the New Jersey Devils last night, the B’s are still atop the Northeast Division standings, but they sure don’t look like a division leader.
This has arguably been the worst six-game stretch for the Bruins this season. They’ve struggled to put the puck in the net, scoring just 12 times. Defensively, the gaps continue as they’ve allowed 17 goals. The power play is still powerless despite the additions of Jaromir Jagr and Carl Soderberg. Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin aren’t making clutch saves when they need to the most. In one of the worst games of his career, Zdeno Chara was one of many Bruins who looked sluggish last night. Even their penalty kill is suspect after allowing two power play goals per game in a span of three games.
Some of those traits were seen Tuesday night, including Khudobin’s soft goal midway through the second period, which led Rask to relieve him in net. Either way, Claude Julien is looking for a wakeup call as the team enters the last three games of the 2013 regular season.
“These last three games, we need a wakeup call mentally,” said the sixth-year Bruins coach. “We need to be willing to do the stuff that’s given us success. We’re willing to do it some of the time, but we’re not willing to do it all of the time.”
There’s a lot of other factors that could play into this stretch of mediocrity the last couple of months. From the grueling schedule to the injuries in March and some turnover in the roster after the trade deadline, things haven’t been consistent. Very rarely did they record a full 60-minute effort in this span, either.
Either way, Julien is sick of the excuses.
Starting tomorrow against the Tampa Bay Lightning – who, like the Flyers, are eliminated from the postseason – the Bruins will enter another stretch of three games in four days. They’ll close out the season with a trip to Washington on Saturday to face the Southeast Division champion Capitals and host the Ottawa Senators on Sunday in Game No. 48.
While the Los Angeles Kings limped into the playoffs before their improbable Stanley Cup run last year, the Bruins are hoping to turn on the switch sooner rather than later.
“Team’s don’t just flip the switch [come playoffs],” GM Peter Chiarelli said on Toucher and Rich this morning. “Let’s be clear on that, it just doesn’t happen.”
Chiarelli’s statement is making its waves among the organization. Cam Neely made a similar remark on Felger and Mazz yesterday, and Jagr echoed the same thing last week to CSNNE’s Mike Giardi.
Judging by the last month and a half, though, the Bruins do not look ready for the postseason. And if they don’t turn on the switch quickly, then they’ll likely have another disappointing end to a once promising season.