BOSTON -- Marco Sturm found himself on a new line at practice Sunday, riding shotgun on the left wing with Patrice Bergeron and Mark Recchi.
Sturm has just one goal in his last 21 games, dating back to the regular season, and coach Claude Julien is hoping he can find the magic again with Bergeron and Recchi, two players he has had success with in the past. Sturm has seemed to match up particularly well with Bergeron since coming to the Bruins in 2006 as part of the Joe Thornton trade with San Jose.
"It's still on me," Sturm said after practice Sunday. "But I know him (Bergeron) and I know he's going to get me the puck, and he and ‘Rex', I've just got to play like I played in the past, I've just got to relax and have fun and use my speed."
Following the Bruins' 4-1 loss Friday that forced a Game 6 back in Boston, Sturm sat alone in the dressing room. The media had all but cleared out and his teammates were headed for the bus to the airport. But Sturm -- who had once again failed to score on three shots and an open-net chance in the first period that he fanned on -- remained, seemingly bewildered and yet positive at the same time.
"I don't know, I just don't," the snake-bitten forward who had 22 goals this season told NHL.com. "But I feel good lately. I think I've been making things happen and who knows? You just keep going and it will come."
That has been Sturm's mantra throughout this current funk, but it is clear the German winger is frustrated and wants to help his team. Sturm is one of the friendlier and more upbeat interviews in the NHL and it's rare when his anger comes through. But while he wasn't exactly mad, it was evident he wants to break out of this funk -- and not for himself, but to help his teammates, who could definitely use his sniper touch.
"You know it's hard because I'm trying and it's just not working right now," he said without the trademark smile that shines in most interviews. "We are in a great position right now and we can advance, so I need to step up for my teammates and score some goals."
But as far as his teammates are concerned, there is no lack of effort on Sturm's part. They see a guy that is always upbeat and giving his all every game.
"You look at the game (Game 5) he had and you can't say he wasn't playing hard," recent linemate David Krejci pointed out. "I mean … he set me up for that breakaway early in the game and I didn't score, so it's not his fault. He's creating, making things happen. It will come for him."
Bergeron was thrilled to be playing with Sturm again and knows that it's only a matter of time before he finds the twine. As the Bruins alternate captain pointed out, Sturm possesses the two most important qualities of a legit sniper: speed and a lethal shot. The positive attitude never hurts either.
"He's a sniper and he's proven that," said Bergeron, who leads the Bruins with four points in the series. "He's that type of guy that's always pretty positive and always looking at things the right way. And the only things I can do is be behind him and support him and tell him how good he is, because he really is a great player.
"To me, it's one of those things -- sometimes it happens, the puck doesn't go in. Obviously you need some results sometimes, but at the same time he's been playing great, been playing well, and hopefully (Monday) we turn that around."
Sturm was pretty excited to be back with Bergeron and Recchi and he knows he just needs to remain positive.
"It's in your head, you try and try hard, but sometimes when you try too hard it goes the other way," he said. "That's the way it is, but hopefully I can respond (Monday) with those two guys."