Peter Chiarelli Sees Improvement, But Admits Bruins Have to ‘Step Up Performance’ As Playoffs Start

Daniel Paille, Shawn Thornton, Adam McQuaidThe Bruins stuttered down the stretch, and as a result, they’ll open the playoffs Wednesday with little positive momentum. Despite what the numbers might say, however, the B’s insist they’re seeing good things despite the results.

When the puck drops in Game 1 against Toronto on Wednesday night, those small victories won’t matter much anymore, as wins — and getting four of them to advance — will be all that matters. Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli is among those who have seen positives as of late, especially in the three games following an embarrassing effort on April 23 against Philadelphia.

“I’ve liked the physicality in the last three games,” Chiarelli said in a conference call Monday afternoon. “I like the effort, it’s been consistent. We are starting to generate more chances. We’re not finishing those chances and we have to improve on that, but we’re generating more chances. The level of activity and intensity has picked up, that I like. As a message, I would want that to continue. Eventually we will find our game, our execution, our skill level. We will find it if this other stuff is in place.”

Chiarelli admitted that it’s been difficult to accurately evaluate his team’s play and the rest of the league as well, given the crazy nature of this season’s truncated NHL season. However, the GM also said that he’s not going to let the club use excuses. While Chiarelli has seen the team improve in the final three games, he knows they must find another gear and perform at a higher level.

“I’m not gonna offer any excuses,” Chiarelli said. “We didn’t perform the way we were capable of performing on a number of a different fronts. It’s good that we had a hot start to the season and we were able to finish where we finished. If I’m gonna judge our team on the latter half of the year, I’m gonna have to say that we’re really going to have to step up our performance to have success in the playoffs.

“I would hope that there’s an element to their character with the experience that they have that they’re gonna step up their play. And in reference to the last three games, I see that coming a little bit but I still stand by what I said — you can’t turn on and off a switch and just expect you to have success after not performing at the proper level.”