If there was ever a game that would indicate that stats, especially shot differential or corsi, are not the be all and end all in hockey, it was this one. The Bruins only lost the shot battle 25-23, and were only trailing 19-14 after 2 periods, but you’d think the Canucks outshot the Bruins by at least 12 or 15 last night. The Bruins played really badly overall and beyond horrendously in the 2nd period, at times looking where they didn’t even care. Billy Jaffe, Dale Arnold and Jack Edwards were going off on the team and rightfully so, and given how all 3 of them watch each and every Bruins game, that should tell you something. The Bruins just didn’t seem to want it in a pivotal game, and this is one of the few times where that cliche about a team “not wanting it” really did seem to ring true.
Something is off with the team. Hopefully the core of the team, which has played 15 playoff series in the past 6 years and 11 in the past 4, is just tired of the regular season and can turn it on in the playoffs, a la the 2010 Celtics. Hopefully. But there were ridiculous defensive breakdowns on all 4 of the Canucks’ non-empty net goals, and the B’s seemed content to keep giving up those opportunities.
Individually, there are tons of question marks. Patrice Bergeron is still playing with fire and still producing, because he’s Patrice Bergeron. And Chara is still a great no. 1 blueliner. After that, Marchand hasn’t been able to break his streaks of bad hockey with a good streak that we all love him for, Reilly Smith looks to have taken a major step back from last year with the eye test (although his possession stats are still comparable), David Krejci and Milan Lucic aren’t the same, David Pastrnak has cooled off, and the 3rd line, which carried the Bruins for parts of the 1st half of the season, isn’t looking much better recently.
And everyone on defense after Dougie is playing either 1 or 2 depth chart spots above their current abilities. Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid were paired up last night… I don’t know if that meant that Claude Julien was paid by the Canucks to throw the game by putting them together, or if each guy was individually bought off, but it sure seemed like the 1919 Black Sox put more effort into the World Series than Seidenberg and McQuaid did to last night’s game. Kevan Miller and Torey Krug seem like they have to be the 3rd and 4th best defensemen on the team at this point, and that’s such a recipe for disaster that I threw up when I typed the sentence.
The team needs a shakeup, and that’s a huge understatement. The worry here is that the team will get desperate and convince themselves that a guy like Chris Stewart will be the answer because of the toughness that he brings. Truthfully, this team needs a lot more than that. They need 2 players, either 2 defensemen or 1 forward and 1 defenseman, who won’t take a night off and will slide some of the overmatched guys down the depth chart back to where they belong.
But, more importantly, the Bruins need to actually wake up. Their biggest threat to themselves during the Claude Julien era has been to fall asleep randomly. But we’ve never seen a season like this which has had 3 or 4 spurts where you wonder, “What the hell is going on? Where’s the urgency?” Or, as Jack and Brick would say, “Where’s the compete level?” That’s the question that we all want answered, but we can only get an answer if the Bruins demonstrate the fire that we know they’re capable of.