By Matthew Cunha
Here we are again with the Boston Bruins, winners of 17 games and losers of 17 games which is good enough to own the eighth best record in the Eastern Conference. By virtue of being in third place in the Atlantic Division, the Bruins currently sit in a playoff spot. Tampa Bay and Florida (who they play on Friday) sit two points behind, each having a game in hand on the Bruins. The Bruins play, much like the past two years, has been highly inconsistent.
The last two and half years have been marked by key wins, and very disappointing losses. Just when you think this team has turned it around, they throw out a stinker like they did on Tuesday in a 4-2 home loss vs the last place Islanders. Before you could even blink an eye they were chasing a 2-0 deficit. On Sunday, the Bruins had a successful 1-0 shootout of the Los Angeles Kings. Another step forward followed by a huge step back.
The Bruins inconsistency was shown in the stretch of games prior to this week. After a 3-0-1 stretch that was highlighted by a comeback from down 3-0 against last year President’s trophy winner, the Washington Capitals, en route to a point. The Bruins lost two home games to the Maple Leafs and Avalanche. Both of whom are in last place in their respective divisions. Then the B’s took 3 out of 4 points in two rivalry road games vs the Canadiens and Penguins. A 4-3 home loss to the Ducks was the start of this most recent stretch of futility.
Regrettably these trends are nothing new for the Boston Bruins. For two years they have done this and hovered around the playoff bubble all season. Nothing has shown me that the Bruins will be in any different spot than they were the last two seasons. A hovering playoff team that looked like it would get in only to collapse. Mostly because of their inability to beat lousy teams in their home arena. A disturbing trend that I think questions the guts of the team and the head coach. After Tuesday’s loss to Islanders, head coach Claude Julien questioned his team after letting the Islanders get a quick lead:
“It’s too big of a hole, but it’s a hole we dug in ourselves. To me, it’s not acceptable. Some of those mistakes on those goals are coming from our best players. The secondary scoring is there, yet we’re still not getting the scoring we should from a lot of our guys. So I think that until we can find, or some of our best players can find their games, we’re going to be playing these types of games, back and forth. [We’ll be] winning a big one, losing another one, and so on, so forth.”
“What you saw in the third period, I don’t know why we don’t bring that in the first. We wait until we’re in a hole, and the desperation, and I guess our work ethic and our compete level, should be at that [level in] the first. Not in the third, when you’re down 3-0. So somehow we’ve got to find that. It’s not good enough, and we know that we struggle to score goals. Let’s be ready to play. The way we gave up goals tonight, didn’t look to me like we were ready to play.”
Claude questioned his team as Bruins fans having been doing for two and a half years. He even called out his best players. Although I think that he has to take a lot of blame for not having his boys ready to play on a consistent basis. I like how he attacked his team, although what can that really do. Until this team can find some consistency, they will be exactly what they are: mediocrity. Whatever the Bruins are doing, something has to be changed, because it is not working.
Matthew Cunha is a producer on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm the Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.