That task gets even tougher when the Bruins square off against an opponent that’s likely to miss the playoffs. Since last winning back-to-back games, the Bruins are 3-8 against teams that are a ninth seed or lower.
The same theme reoccurred at TD Garden Saturday, as the Bruins (38-22-3), lost to the New York Islanders (27-29-9, 13th place) 3-2.
But there’s no time for the Bruins to worry about the loss, or dwell on the negatives, as they have a game today against the New York Rangers (41-15-7) – the top team in the Eastern Conference.
“This time of year is not the time to start hammering down on guys.” Boston Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said. “I think, we say the way it is, there’s times we’re not happy with our game, and we’ll show it. But at the same time, you always have to build on the positive.”
So that’s exactly what the Bruins will do as they prepare to play the Broadway Blueshirts tomorrow, who have beat the Black & Gold twice this season.
Against the Islanders, the Bruins outshot their opponent 34-25 and converted a power play opportunity – an improvement since going 1-9 on the power play in the last three games.
“We got a goal out of it, and at the same time, I thought we had some good chances,” Julien said. [We] controlled it, we shot more, and so I would say our power play was definitely better.”
But even if something like the power play is clicking against the Rangers, it still won’t guarantee a victory. New York is 6-2-2 in their last 10 games, and forward Patrice Bergeron
said his team has to take the ice at Madison Square Garden with an unprecedented intensity.
“[We’re] playing a great team tomorrow, so we’re aware what’s going on,” Bergeron said. “For us, it’s about going out there and playing our game and making sure it happens. It’s two huge points, and they’re a great team, and we have to match that intensity, that physicality, and play our game.”
The Bruins will take on the Rangers without Daniel Paille
or Tuukka Rask
, who were both hurt yesterday in the Islanders game.
However, it’s not a lack of players that is troubling the team, it’s a lack of scoring from entire group.
In the last two games, the Bruins scored six goals – all which came from the new line of David Krejci
, Milan Lucic
and Tyler Seguin
(Krejci 3, Seguin 2, Lucic 1).
“A full 60-minute effort by all 20 guys [is what we need],” Lucic said. “[The Rangers are] a team that, you know, has been playing well all season and long and has given us some trouble the last two games. So, it’s going to take a group effort in order to beat them and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”--- Anthony Gulizia