BOSTON — The Bruins have been one of the NHL’s best teams over the last four years and very rarely are they beaten in just about every facet of the game like they were Saturday night.
The Washington Capitals came into TD Garden and earned a convincing 4-0 win, dropping the Bruins to 1-2-0 and giving the Original Six club its first shutout loss at home in 81 games and its first back-to-back regular-season losses in regulation since Jan. 9.
“We all are struggling. It’s just one of those things that we knew we didn’t have our, I’m not going to say best game against Detroit and we didn’t even follow up being better for tonight’s game,” a frustrated Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said in the locker room after the loss.
“We just got embarrassed and I think we all have to really look at what we can start doing better and really take pride in that because a game like tonight is not acceptable. For sure it’s something that we have to correct really fast because you can be saying whatever you want, its early in the season but these games are as important as a game in the mid season or end of the season, so everybody has to be a lot better.”
Boston’s issues aren’t found in just one aspect of the game — nearly every area is hurting.
The offense has scored three goals in three games, including just a single tally in the last two losses combined. The power play — which was a major strength for the B’s in 2013-14 with the third-best success rate in the league — is converting at a 10 percent rate (1-for-10). The penalty kill also has struggled, allowing three goals over the past two contests and allowing opponents to create quality scoring chances because of defensive breakdowns, many of which are the result of mental mistakes.
“Mentally we have to be stronger,” Chara said. “We can’t be hanging our head when we are down or getting scored on we just gotta fight through it. At the same time, physically, our body language everything has to be better. We have to put this one behind. Not saying we totally forget about this one, we gotta correct those mistakes we are making and start doing things right.”
The Bruins haven’t been able to put their full lineup on the ice because of injuries to first-line center David Krejci and fourth-line center Gregory Campbell. This has given head coach Claude Julien only two NHL-caliber lines, and it’s tough to beat quality opponents with that kind of depth.
Still, the Bruins aren’t using the mixed lines and larger-than-normal amount of young, inexperienced players on the roster as an excuse.
“That’s not it. I don’t think that’s the reason why we are playing the way we are,” Chara said. “I think that we are familiar with each other, most of us. You can’t really be saying that we have a few guys — new guys and that’s the reason, absolutely not. I think that the changes are — adding some players shouldn’t make play the way we were tonight. So that’s not it.”
The Bruins’ next chance to turn their season around is Monday afternoon against a Colorado Avalanche team with similar problems. Colorado is 0-2-0 and has been outscored 7-0.
“Two hockey teams outplayed us in 120 minutes of hockey,” veteran center Chris Kelly said. “I don’t know what else to say. It’s not Bruins hockey. It’s not the way we want to play hockey.
“Expectations are way higher than that for this group. It’s upsetting.”
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