Before the Boston Bruins contest with the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday, defenseman Andrew Ference
stressed the importance of his defense playing on their toes and minimizing the extra scoring opportunities.
But as the Lighting rolled to a 5-3 victory over the Black & Gold, it was clear that the Bruins lack of sharpness caught up with them.
“The more pucks that get thrown at the net, which [Tampa] did a good job of [Tuesday], the more chaos there’s going to be,” Ference said. “It’s on us to minimize the turnovers and you think about the good chances [Tampa had], they were on pucks we had control and turned it over. It’s [about] taking care of the puck when you have it and those chances won’t happen.”
According to Ference, the team just needs to keep it simple, rather than over-analyzing the ways they get back on track.
“Every time it gets a little bit complicated, you try to do too much and there’s more turnovers – you make the game harder than it has to be,” Ference added. “We’re a team that has skills, but we play better if we don’t try to show it off all the time. We have to stay simple and use our skill and some nice moves when it’s available, as opposed to trying it over and over again.”
Defenseman Zdeno Chara views it the way Ference does, and said that the Bruins need to make it easier for themselves by eliminating the mistakes.
“We know we haven’t played our best and it showed,” Chara said. “The best thing to do is go back to the basics and play the hockey we played in November and December. Every team we play plays really good against us and that’s normal, but we’re finding a way to make games more difficult for us.”
Since the turn of the new year, the question about the Bruins toughened road schedule often arises, but Ference said the Bruins aren’t looking for any excuses.
Instead, they have to come together as a team like they did after the rocky October start.
"It’s not like it takes more [physical] effort to play a good game – it’s not about taking nights off,” he said. “Nobody is going to be 100 percent on top of their game every game, but the good teams know how to do it more often than not and not lean on [the schedule] as an easy out.
“It’s about mentally being sharp and every individual focusing on what we have to do when they’re good and that’s the same thing we did at the start of the year. Everyone took it upon themselves to improve the team.”