Lack of focus costing Bruins in another late season slump
There could be numerous factors as to why the B’s have hit an ill-timed four-game losing skid. Fatigue, frustration, fate, you name it, it could be a reason.
But if you ask me, there is one main reason why the Bruins are currently sliding.
Yes, it begins win an ‘f.’ It’s focus, or the lack thereof.
Take the Thursday night’s loss at home against Tampa Bay. Facing a near must-win situation against the Lightning the Bruins took the lead not once, not twice but thrice in the second period. Each time, they allowed the Bolts to tie it right back up in 44 seconds, 24 seconds and 1:35. On each goal, the B’s looked lackadaisical, allowing Tampa to walk right back in the zone and get shots off.
The eventual winner from Nikita Kucherov, who finished with a hat trick on the night, came on a power-play midway through the third on a high sticking penalty taken by David Pastrnak. Pastrnak took the penalty when, after playing the puck, kept his stick held high. Vladislav Namestnikov promptly skated into the stick and drew the penalty. It’s been simple mistakes that have cost the Bruins so far, and it has been spread out over the last four games.
“It happened the other night against Ottawa,” said interim coach Bruce Cassidy, “…but at the end of the day, it is a focus, and it’s urgency and it’s understanding time and score. We did not have good comprehension of that tonight and I don’t think, of late. It’s in certain situations in the game when you lose your focus for whatever reason.”
“Not being focused and not being sharp,” Zdeno Chara said when asked if the result of losing three leads was a result of lack of focus. “Obviously at this time of the year it’s unacceptable and it’s up to us to be better.”
From giving up three early goals in the first period against Edmonton, to a defensive breakdown that lead to the winner against Ottawa, to allowing two quick, late goals in Toronto, the Bruins focus has been almost nonexistent, especially in late games.
“As a group, I don’t think we were prepared individually,” said Brad Marchand. “I think mentally, most off, we all had missed assignments over the ice where we need to be better.”
“Those follow-up shifts [after scoring] need to be our best shifts,” added Marchand’s fellow linemate David Backes. “I don’t think they were our best shifts. They were probably some of our least form of execution, least form of desperation and fortitude to just impose what we’re going to do on the other team.”
But as frustrating as it has been on the ice for the Bruins, fans and media are equally upset. As one can see in the papers and hear on the radio, the B’s are starting to be written off, and people are starting to wonder what is causing this lack of focus.
“You’ve got to come to expect a better effort and I feel like we weren’t ready,” stated Torey Krug. “We were making some key mistakes, we have a few leads and then all of a sudden, the next shift, they’re coming back and scoring on us and good teams don’t do that. So, I just think mentally we weren’t very sharp.”
Just after the Bruins loss to Ottawa, Krug was adamant that another late-season collapse was not going to happen this year. Could attitudes like this be what hurting the B’s?
Of course, a little confidence never hurt anyone, but are the B’s a bit too confident and careless after their impressive stretch when Cassidy took over?
Said Cassidy on why his team may have lost focus during the second, “I think if there was an easy answer, we would have solved after the first or second [goal].”
But what is exactly is the answer as to why the Bruins are losing their focus? Entering another important game against the Islanders tonight in Brooklyn, one can only guess.