Boston Bruins: Self-Inflicted Misery.

Jan 4, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron (37) celebrates his second period goal with teammates against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins had a chance to start getting back on the right track yesterday. They were on the road, taking on the Carolina Hurricanes(one of the worst teams this season). The Bruins played perhaps their worst game of the season to date. While an argument can be made for the Canadian or Californian road trips, the overall lack of effort and/or desire from the B’s really shines an ugly light on the roster. The Bruins had multiple opportunities to put this away, but had to settle for a single point as the Hurricanes defeated the Bruins in a shootout, 2-1.

“We’re not getting the results we want, and we self-inflict a lot of that stuff on ourselves — when we get a chance, we have to bury them. You see guys just out of character, trying to do too much, and those are signs of not being focused and doing the right thing.” Bruins Coach Claude Julien

It took the Bruins seventeen minutes (16:55) to get their first shot on goal.  Out of the twenty shots on net the Bruins achieved, twelve of them were in the second period. The Bruins had as many shots on goal in overtime as they did the entire third period.  Some of the Bruins just looked disengaged during the game.  The lackadaisical effort of some forced others to overcompensate. Those overreaching players in turn made errors and only caused more chaos.

There were some players who were still trying to play hockey. Patrice Bergeron did his best to stop the bleeding, and even gave the fans hope as he teamed up with Brad Marchand and Dougie Hamilton to tie the game in the second. Bergeron’s wrister sailed past former Bruin Anton Khudobin and gave the B’s some life during the middle period. Hamilton came to play as well, with four shots and two hits.

The hard truth is that the Black and Gold have dropped eleven of their last fifteen games.  The Jekyll and Hyde style of play that plagued Matt Bartkowski early in the season has spread to practically the entire squad. The team just can’t seem to do enough in the offensive zone. When the Bruins finally get through that and play to their potential, the Bruins miss wide open creases. (Reilly Smith‘s second period whiff was a perfect example.)

This team played as if the panic button had officially been pressed at the TD Garden. It certainly didn’t help that both Peter Chiarelli and Cam Neely were on hand to watch this particular meltdown. The team doesn’t have an identity any more. They are no longer the Big, Bad Bruins. They are a team that has to figure out if they want to make the playoffs or not. At the moment, it looks like they won’t be making it this year.

What is going on? What has caused the Bruins to so seriously self-destruct? While Tuukka Rask points to many of the problems as being ‘mental’ in nature, it comes down to missing opportunities. Alternate captain Patrice Bergeron may be saying more than he knows when he expresses where the Bruins have gone wrong these last few months.

“It’s hard to really pinpoint one thing,” said Bergeron after the game. “Definitely frustrating, and definitely not what you need if you want a result. You need some traffic, you need some shots if you want some goals. I don’t need to tell you that, but it’s true, and it’s part of what’s been missing, is that we didn’t generate enough shots or create enough chances by getting the loose pucks in front.”

The Bruins fall to 19-15-6. Believe it or not, they’re still in contention for a wild card spot. If the Bruins can put together three months of solid hockey, they’ll make the playoffs. The bears just need to come out of hibernation soon.