A season-high 45 shots on goal weren't enough for the slow Boston Bruins to get a win against the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night at the TD Garden. The final result was a Bruins loss — and a shutout for Ducks netminder Jonas Hiller.
Andrew Ference chalked it up to his team not having a consistent identity. Marc Savard called his team's performance "stale." Claude Julien said the compete level needs to be better.
No matter which perspective you take, the answer is clear: The Bruins need to play better, play a solid 60 minutes and act like they want to win games instead of going through the motions of playing hockey.
The Bruins' lack of emotion is evident.
"That's crept into our game,'' said Julien, "and we have to get rid of that. I'm disappointed. I'm really disappointed in our effort. It's not something we should be proud of. We should be willing to redeem ourselves next game and find some emotion and more intensity in our game.''
Next up for Boston are the Atlanta Thrashers, who boast a 9-5-3 road record. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 8-6-3 at home and will have to clean up their act if they want their hometown fans to keep packing the Garden.
By the third period of Monday night's game, nearly two-thirds of the fans had left the building. If the product on the ice continues to falter, the B's are in jeopardy of those turnstiles not even moving.
The Bruins missed out on a golden opportunity last week to claim the Northeast Division lead, with back-to-back games in Buffalo and Montreal. They almost blew a 3-0 lead by being outshot 26-2 by the Washington Capitals last Saturday night, and Monday's 3-0 loss to Anaheim was the Bruins' third loss in their last four games.
It's time to turn things around. The Bruins will play their final home game of the 2010 calendar year on Thursday night. It's a perfect opportunity for the team to leave the fans with something to cheer for. An early Christmas present for Bruins fans will also allow the Bruins to get back on track. After the holiday, it's off to Florida for the start of a five-game road trip. Perhaps this team needs some time away from home. They are, after all, 9-5-1 when traveling.
But then again, why wait? The Bruins can even up their season series on Thursday night against Atlanta. It would be the best holiday gift the B's can give their fans, and it'd be a start to earning their team identity once again.