Flat. Ugly. Uninterested. These are all words that can describe the way the Boston Bruins have both played and acted during their 0-3 start to the resumption of play (including the exhibition game).
Sloppy passes, bad turnovers, no sustained zone time, the whole nine yards. We expected their to be rust on an aging Bruins team coming off of a five month layoff, but we didn’t expect this.
Throughout the first seventy games of the 2019-20 season, I can’t remember the Bruins coming out this flat in consecutive games. Every time they would lay an egg vs. Detroit or Toronto, they would bounce right back the next game with an offensive explosion. Now? Not so much.
The so called “perfection line” of Bergeron Marchand and Pastrnak has been nowhere to be found. I don’t think I’ve noticed David Krejci or Jake DeBrusk once in the two round robin games. The only consistent player the B’s have had has been Charlie Coyle. Other than that it’s been either up and down or just plain down.
Even the goals they’ve scored and chances they’ve gotten have just been off of sixty-foot blueline shots that somehow find a way in. In other words, they look like the Claude Julien era of dump-and-chase and hope for a tip-in. If they don’t start generating more offensive chances, they aren’t going to survive the first round, let alone win the cup.
Did they look better in the second half of the Lightning game? Of course. There was clearly more energy and life to them, and Tuukka Rask was excellent, but in the end, they still couldn’t stave off a Tampa Bay team without Steven Stamkos.
The hope is that the return of Ondrej Kase puts everybody back into the right lines, and will allow for more chemistry, but who really knows at this point? Kase played just two games in a Bruins uniform prior to the shut down, and has clearly been in Bruce Cassidy’s doghouse during the restart.
With the two losses, the Bruins can finish no higher than the third seed, and will more likely be locked into the 4th seed. As a result, the path to the cup will go through both Tampa Bay and Washington, two teams the Bruins always have trouble with. The likely first round matchup would be Carolina, which would actually be a big break for Boston.
Not all hope is lost, but the Bruins have really dug themselves into a hole with the 0-2 start. We really need to see an encouraging win vs. Washington on Sunday, or the panic button is going to be in full force.