The Boston Bruins have suffered through a disappointing start to the season, winning just one of their opening four games. There is no need to panic, at least not yet, as it is unlikely the talented Bruins will continue to struggle for an extended period.
That being said, tonight’s game with the 2010 Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks would be a great time to start turning things around. A road win against one of the better teams in the Western Conference would be a huge boost to the struggling Bruins.
Here are the keys to getting that key road win and hopefully jump-starting the season:
Create traffic in front of Corey Crawford: Crawford has developed into one of the league’s premier netminders, so a struggling Boston offense will need to do whatever it can to create traffic in front of him. They need to fire pucks at his feet, drive the net, and look for rebounds and tips.
Play physical: Building on the first key is to be physical. The Bruins were the bullies in the playoffs last year, knocking the Canadiens, Flyers, Lightning, and Canucks around. No one could stand up to them, and they pounded teams into submission. This season, the Bruins aren’t hitting anyone, much less being the most physical team on the ice.
Start a fight: Whenever the Bruins have needed a spark in the past, one of the many Bruin tough guys dropped the gloves. It’s time for Shawn Thornton, Gregory Campbell, Milan Lucic, or maybe Benoit Pouliot to go after someone. Tonight might be the night, as the rumor is Thornton has a score to settle with a certain Blackhawk.
Clear the zone: The Bruins are spending too much time in their zone. This became an issue at points last season, and they ironed it out. Even so, the B’s had stretches where the opposition controlled too much of the play.
Score on the power play: This is still a major issue for the Bruins, who cannot seem to get anything going with the man advantage. The B’s were 0-fpr-5 in the loss to Carolina on Wednesday and just 1-for-18 (0 for their last 17 after scoring on the first one of the year) on the season. Keep in mind that all three Bruins’ losses were by a goal, so if the PP had even been below average, the Bruins would be 4-0. If the power play can somehow get on track, it would do a lot to help the Bruins get on track.