In recent games, the Boston Bruins have dealt with an issue that has reflected and led to their current record.
Heading into games against the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, and the Toronto Maple Leafs this week, the Bruins hold a decent 8-5-0 record in the Atlantic Division, ranking fifth in the Eastern Conference.
Despite the record, the Bruins have fallen into the trap that countless sports organizations fall into time-and-time-again. The issue is competing to the level of your opponent.
This new and rather unfortunate style of play has been costly, yet sometimes rewarding for the team. In games against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders, the Bruins had the upper hand talent-wise, but they failed to use their advantages and played down to their level, costing them two points in each game.
The style of play will hopefully cease to exist after last night’s tough loss to the New York Islanders on Long Island, NY.
Following the game, head coach Claude Julien was far from pleased with the effort and energy his team brought. “We’re just not good enough right now,” he said in a report on the team’s website.
I could not agree more with Coach Julien. Recently, the team has created a horrible habit of not ‘showing up’ in games – especially the game against the Islanders. The lack of energy and effort brought to certain games has cost the Bruins crucial points. The Devils went into the game against the Bruins with only one win in their first 10 games and left Boston with a win.
Players like Shawn Thornton and Adam McQuaid have offered opponents numerous one-man advantages. Combined, the two players have had 45 penalties in minutes in 13 games.
To look on the positive side, the first line, consisting of David Krejci, Milan Lucic and Jarome Iginla have combined for a total of 34 points so far in 13 games. Krejci ranks in the top ten in the NHL for assists (11).
The defense, too, is providing positivity to the team. Dennis Seidenberg is ranked fourth in plus/minus in the Atlantic Division with a strong +9. Also, Torey Krug is tied for sixth for power play goals (3) in the entire NHL.
Still, Tuukka Rask holds multiple top spots in the NHL for goalies. He has the second best goals against average (1.73) and save percentage (.940) out of goalies that have played 10+ games.
Three home games lie ahead for the Bruins, hopefully the continuing electric atmosphere provided throughout TD Garden for the team will surge through them and energize their play. The Dallas Stars will face off against the B’s at 7:00 p.m. EST on Tuesday Nov. 5.
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