The B’s have picked the wrong time of the year to go into a funk, and they may have hit a new low Saturday night in North Carolina. The B’s were unimpressive once again in a 4-2 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Bruins showed bursts — albeit small bursts — in which they looked a little sharper. It looked like they may have been finding their skating legs, no small feat in this truncated schedule which is admittedly kicking their tails right now.
While you can take small positives here and there, it’s just not good enough for the Bruins right now. They’re tired. They’re banged up. They’re missing two of their best players in Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Yet that doesn’t give them excuses to get away from what they do best.
When they’re going at their best, the Bruins are a disciplined, defensive-minded team that doesn’t try to do too much. However, they just turned in another game in which they were sloppy with the puck, poor in their own zone and looked disjointed in every aspect of the game at some point during the 60 minutes.
“We’ve gotta get better,” head coach Claude Julien said. “Let’s not kid ourselves. We’re not playing great, we’re just playing OK and we’re a better team than that. The effort’s gotta be better all over the ice, the little details.”
All of these little things are starting to pile up and become one major headache for Julien and the B’s. They’re far from where they need to be right now. It’s tough to really point to one thing and say that it’s an issue. Maybe that’s because it seems like it’s something different every night. At this rate, the only constant is that the Bruins can’t find a solid 60-minute effort. It doesn’t take a seasoned hockey expert to know that’s a surefire recipe for an early playoff exit.
Where do the Bruins start, then? That’s the million-dollar question. There’s no denying that this team will get better once it gets back to full strength. Bergeron is the team’s best two-way player. Marchand is one of the club’s best scorers.
Equally as important will be figuring out how to fit those players back into the mix in a way that will allow the Bruins to gel in the season’s final days. That comes down to coaching, an area that has also left something to be desired at times in the past month or so.
Who knows? Maybe the Bruins are taking the vantage point that they can coast into the playoffs and then turn it on then. They’re a veteran-laden bunch that has a core that’s been around for a while. That’s a risky proposition, however.
The Bruins may not be talented enough to do that. There’s a reason why we often see teams surge into the playoffs before doing damage in the postseason.
Boston needs to right the ship. It’s getting to be winning time, which means if the B’s don’t turn it around soon, they’re going to see this short season turn into a long summer before too long.