After a strong performance in a 6-2 win at Colorado on Saturday, the Bruins laid an egg against Los Angeles two nights later and were shut out by former UMass netminder Jonathan Quick. The result was a split road trip for a team that has been impressive away from the TD Garden, as the B's have a 15-6-4 road record.
The B's have one more chance to get back to their winning ways before the break, as they host the Panthers on Wednesday night. Florida ranks 11th in the Eastern Conference with 126 goals scored, and the Panthers are 0-2-1 against the Bruins, getting outscored 10-3 in those three contests. The Panthers haven't just been playing dead against the Black and Gold, as the Florida squad even led the Bruins after two periods in two of the losses and trailed the third by just one goal.
The Bruins have a slight edge, given that they returned from Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon and will be well rested for Wednesday's matchup. The Panthers, on the other hand, will be coming in late Tuesday evening after taking on the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, an opponent they are 1-1 against this season.
The hope is that the Bruins regain their offensive stride — the one that saw them improve to 4.6 goals per game in their previous eight games. With their star playmaker Marc Savard sidelined once again with a concussion, the Bruins will rely on the new-look lines that Claude Julien mixed to make up for the loss of Savvy. However, as of Monday night, the result was not what the head coach had drawn up.
It was a double dose of reality checks for the Bruins on the West Coast. First, they'll need to move on without Savard, whose timetable for return is uncertain. Second, the B's will have to figure out a way to win in order to hold on to a top spot in the Eastern Conference. Only seven points separate the Bruins from their current spot at No. 3 and the ninth spot, where playoff dreams are torn apart.
"I think we need some guys to step up and start scoring some goals for us," Julien said after his team's 2-0 loss to the Kings on Monday night. "Not just rely on the same people all the time. At one point, you can get away with it for so long. There's some guys who have been dry for some time now. We need them to step up. If we're going to win some of these kinds of games, that's what we need."
Julien and his staff are hoping that Wednesday night's contest against Florida will be just what the team needs to get the offense back in motion. If not, it's going to be a long All-Star break, with players left to do a lot of pondering about the struggles, misfortunes and, last but not least, the trade deadline lingering on Feb. 28.
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