TAMPA - In eight games since the Bruins lost their top line center Patrice Bergeron to injury, the squad has fought to a 4-3-1 record in that span. The methods have not often been pretty, but a recipe of strong defensive play, good goaltending and timely scoring has kept the Black & Gold in the absence of their all-situations all-star forward. Against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday, the formula fell short in the 5-0 loss.
"Last night was one of those games where we were all kind of off a bit," said forward Brad Marchand. "We made a lot of mistakes that were uncharacteristic of our team. Got away from it a little bit and we've been relying a lot on our goalies. It's tough to do that every night. We have to back them up and play well in front of them, but we didn't do that last night. We have to get back to playing the way we normally do."
Video: Marchand Addresses media after practice in Tampa Bay
Head coach Bruce Cassidy noted that the mindset of the team plays a big role in the play on the ice.
"I think our guys just have to [say], 'ok we've been winning a certain way for four or five weeks. Do I remember how that was?" said Cassidy. "How did I play in that? How did we as a team play? If we roll through lines, we got through our young D kind of out West. Did we win every game? No, but we were in every game. We were getting points, we were in overtime. Some we lost, some we won. In a shootout against the Islanders playing defensive minded.
"We just have to understand what takes us to be successful, young or old. We just try as a coaching staff to go down. After a game like yesterday, you get on the bus or the plane, there are probably 10 things you are pissed about. You can't fix them all in one practice. Let's go back and see what we can do better"
Cassidy mentioned breakouts and the power play as areas the team focused on in practice on Wednesday.
"We focused on breakout structure to get out of our end quicker," said Cassidy. "Pick up the pace of the game. That allows us to play fast. That leads to more attacks. We talked a bit about the power play groups, we knew that we needed to put in a good practice in at some point. Today was that day."
Video: Cassidy addresses media after practice in Tampa Bay
The Bruins opponent on Thursday, the division leading Tampa Bay Lightning, lead the NHL in goals for with 114. While scoring has been hard to come by at times this season for the B's, the focus against Tampa will be to get back to the basics.
"You just have to simplify," said Marchand. "I think the biggest thing when you're not scoring is you just have to do other things. We have to be better defensively as a group and then scoring the same. We can't worry about winning games scoring four or five goals, we have to win with two. That's just where we're at right now. We have to clean up defensively. If we do that, continue to push - we're getting our opportunities, we're just not necessarily capitalizing. If we keep going and keep getting those chances, they're going to go in eventually."
After sitting out the previous two games and five of the past six games as a healthy scratch, Steven Kampfer will slot back into the lineup against the Lightning on Thursday.
"He'll go in for one of the younger guys," said Cassidy. "Steve was a good player for us. He had a couple games for us where we weren't crazy about his decisions. We let the young guys run with it. Last night they had a tough night at times. So sometimes going up top will help."
In 15 games this season, Kampfer has averaged 14:36 a night.
"It's just getting back to playing simple hockey," said Kampfer. "I understand why I wasn't playing so I thought my last game I played well but other guys were playing good too…Not trying to gamble, not trying to force plays. It's just getting back to like I said, playing simple hockey. I think that's a lot of the main things that we've harped on.
"Talking to Deano [assistant coach Kevin Dean] and watching clips, you get a little bit of perspective when you sit out and you look at it. You're not happy when you sit out, you're mad because you want to be playing, you want to help. You just have to make sure that when you're in the next time, you're doing things that are going to help the team win most importantly and hopefully stay in."
Video: Kampfer addresses media after practice in Tampa Bay
Marchand - Cave - Pastrnak
Nordstrom - Krejci - DeBrusk
Heinen- Kuraly - Backes
Donato - JFK/Acciari - Wagner
Krug - Carlo
Moore - Kampfer
Lauzon - Grzelcyk
Clifton - McAvoy