Playing with fire finally starting to burn the Bruins
Over the course of an 82-game regular season, hitting stretches where lack of energy and urgency is usually the norm.
The Bruins are currently in one of those stretches.
Monday’s 5-2 loss to the Senators in Ottawa was their third loss in a row, and the second time in those three losses they’ve failed to score the first goal of the game. In each of their three straight losses the Bruins have fallen behind by at least two goals.
"We're going through a tough stretch in terms of getting our energy level where it needs to be, having no passengers,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said Monday night.
“If you're not competing hard on the puck, around the puck, on the puck, in this league you're not going to beat anybody. Ottawa was just better than us. They won more races, they were more competitive early on.”
On Saturday against the Avalance, the Bruins suffered their first home regulation loss of the season. Going into a contest with one of the league’s best, and a team that rivals the star power the Bruins boast, Cassidy saw a different type of energy from his team before the contest.
Despite the Bruins jumping out to a 1-0 lead, that pre-game energy was nowhere to be found once the puck dropped.
“Felt a little more excitement in the room tonight. I thought we’d be better. But it’s not a switch, I don’t care. We have one of the best records in the league, but I don’t care, it’s not a switch you can just turn on,” Cassidy said Saturday night. “I thought we would come out a little cleaner than we did.”
With a lack of urgency Saturday night, you would have thought the Bruins would show a little more energy against a Senators team that lacks the type of talent and star power the Bruins saw on Saturday night.
But by the time the Bruins found some energy and got back to their style of play, it was a little too late to save themselves.
“We eventually got to our game, but it’s too late, right? We knew this would catch up to us. Another learning experience for us in that regard, and we will keep plugging away at it,” Cassidy said.
Returning to the Bruins lineup after missing the previous seven games, Patrice Bergeron cut the Senators lead to one after seeing his team fall into an early 2-0 hole.
The Bruins were the better team in the third period, holding the Senators to five shots on goal. But trying to overcome a pair of two-goal third period deficits was too much to handle.
Even for a Bruins team that at times this season have clawed back into games in the third period with ease, regardless of their defect.
“It’s one of those things where a season is filled with ups and downs and we’re facing every challenge, good or bad, as a team together,” Bergeron said. “That’s what we are as a team and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The Bruins had plenty of chances to get themselves back into the contest, scoring just once on five power play opportunities. Their lone power play strike came in the final minutes of the third, a goal by Jake DeBrusk.
It was an ugly night for the Bruins third ranked power play. What was a dangerous weapon for the Bruins early in the season is now becoming an issue the Bruins need to work through.
"Earlier in the year, our power play carried us," added Cassidy. "A night like tonight we probably get two on it and it ends up being the difference in the game.”
The Bruins have just two power play goals in their last 20 opportunities.
"We've turned it into not trusting each other to make the right play. We're holding onto pucks for a little bit too long instead of realizing that we have the man advantage,” said top power play quarterback Torey Krug.
“Just zip the puck around and when you get the open shot, we'll collect the rebounds. That's what we do well. All of a sudden, those nice plays open up. We've just got to move the puck around a little quicker and be more decisive."
With back-to-back games in Washington Wednesday and Tampa Bay Thursday, the Bruins will need better energy and better urgency against two tough opponents.