By: Andrew Thompson Twitter: @Godwentwhoops
The Boston Bruins are only three games in the season. While it is way too early to hit the panic button, there does seem to be a problem at the TD Garden. The lettered members of the Black and Gold were nearly invisible in their home-and-home games with the Colorado Avalanche. The B’s were outscored 10-3 by a team that is normally a doormat for other teams in the league. The B’s -6 goal rating is one of the worst in the NHL (only topped by the -8 fielded by Montreal and Buffalo).
The B’s -6 goal rating is one of the worst in the NHL (only topped by the -8 fielded by Montreal and Buffalo).
While the B’s feel the loss of David Backes, these last two games show how critical the absence of perennial Selke winner Patrice Bergeron is. The B’s usually count on Bergeron to be their go-to guy in the face-off circle. With the Bruins’ alternate captain out of action (missing his third straight game with an undisclosed lower-body injury), the team needed a bigger performance from top-line center David Krejci.
Krejci had an opportunity to step up big on Wednesday, but he wasn’t there for the Black and Gold. Krejci’s minus-2 rating and a single shot on net was disappointing. But his 9-for-21 in the face-off circle was even worse.
Things were better (but not great) for Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. Chara finished with a +2, the only Bruin to finish with that high of a plus/minus. Chara once again led all B’s defenceman for time on the ice (22:34). He had three hits and a shot on goal as well, but the 40-year old Chara looked a few steps behind in half of his shifts.
“I have no words,” offered Chara after the game. “Just not a very good game, obviously. We were not strong on the puck, with the puck, under the puck. Just not good enough all over the ice…it’s up to us that we make sure we fix it.”
The young players needed to turn to the lettered veterans for guidance, and there wasn’t much of it on the ice for them.
The only true bright spot among the lettered Bruins was acting alternate captain Brad Marchand. Boston’s Ball of Hate had his first multi-point game of the season, netting his second goal of the year on a strong off-side rush in the first period. Marchand is making a case for keeping that ‘A’ on his jersey once Chara retires and/or Backes leaves Boston.
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) October 12, 2017
“I’m disappointed in the group because this is where the veteran guys, your leadership, should be better than that. I think we know that our young guys need to learn the ropes a little bit, but you could see our decisions were lacking tonight,” said B’s bench boss Bruce Cassidy after the game.
I’m not saying we need to trade Krejci. I’m not against signing Chara for another year either. But the leaders in the locker room need to step up and make an equal impact on the ice.
Hopefully, the Boston Bruins will take this hit on the chin and use it to right the ship during this road trip. The B’s leadership need to help the young players play a more controlled game. (Tuukka Rask’s .870 save percentage certainly could use some work as well.) Players like Krejci and Chara will have to lead by example. If they do that, then this disappointing start will quickly be forgotten.