Most people tend to feel a boost or benefit from having two days off from their primary responsibility. Not so for the Boston Bruins, who followed two days off from playing with a listless, pathetic 3-1 performance against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Though the Bruins got off to a fairly good start in the first period, at one point testing Ilya Bryzgalov with five shots in six minutes, it was the Flyers who were able to convert first–on the power play, no less, by onetime Bruin Mike Knuble. Tensions got high late in the first as Patrice Bergeron was getting poked at incessantly by Claude Giroux (who, of course, concussed him in the second round of the 2011 playoffs) and told him in no uncertain terms to cut it out, which resulted in Jakub Voracek jumping in too and then Zdeno Chara taking down Luke Schenn, who didn’t really have a prayer against him. That was pretty much the only fire the Bruins showed in this game, though.
For the fourth time in a row and seventh time this season, the Bruins found themselves down two goals early in the second and then spent the rest of the middle stanza wandering around the ice, looking lost, displaying little in the way of effort and appearing not to care that they’re down a pair to one of the worst teams in the Eastern Conference. Establishing and holding a commanding lead is apparently just not something Boston wants to concern itself with–it’s something that other teams do, but not them.
Five minutes into the third period, Nathan Horton finally broke the shutout and got the Bruins on the board. But instead of feeling happy, I just felt more like “Well, it’s about time!” He’d spent the other two periods looking like a shadow of himself, after all, and it shouldn’t have taken the supposed top line that long to register something.
Another top-liner, David Krejci, spent a lot of time fanning on potentially good-looking shots, as did wonder boy defenseman Dougie Hamilton, who really seems to be struggling under pressure sometimes. Speaking of defense, can the Bruins just let Aaron Johnson go already? I still can’t think of anything useful he’s done for the team and surely there has to be some halfway-competent blueliner out there for the trading.
But then in the end, an empty-net goal sealed the deal and the Bruins’ fate. It’s just the latest in a series of lousy games devoid of energy or defensive effort–or much offensive effort, really–where the Bruins think that perhaps they can just show up and win on their reputation alone. No. They cannot. There is no excuse for the way they’ve been playing lately, though I’m sure the team will happily find some excuses to use.
“If you’re a Bruins fan, you can live without [Jarome] Iginla. You cannot live with this lack of effort, urgency, desire,” Jack Edwards tweeted out during the second intermission. This helps to clarify the fact that these issues with the team began long before the Iginla trade strangeness, which may confuse commentators who are dead-set in believing that losing out on Iginla is the sole cause of all the Bruins’ issues. The problems Edwards describes have been going on since long before the trade that wasn’t.
This team is lost and needs desperately to be found soon because, in case you haven’t noticed, there isn’t much of the season left to play. They’ll go to meet the Buffalo Sabres tomorrow night and I don’t even know what to expect anymore.