– Since losing Nathan Horton
to a concussion in January, the Boston Bruins have been shutout four times in their last nine games.
In that span, three of the shutouts came when the Bruins tagged their opponent for 40-plus shots, including last night when they peppered Niklas Backstrom with 48 in a 2-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild.
From the outside, it looks like a fall from grace for the team that led the NHL in goals per game through most of November and December.
But even without Horton, and now Rich Peverley
, Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas
refused to use injuries as an excuse.
“I mean, we have enough offense in here to get scoring,” Thomas said after last night’s loss. “I thought we were going to [against Minnesota], I didn’t feel like going into the game we had to approach it differently because we’re short on anybody.
“I think in all the years I played pro and the minors and the NHL, you have time periods where you have guys out, guys step in and there’s no excuse. There’s no need really dwelling on it, we were prepared today with the team we had to come out and play. We didn’t get the result we wanted, but I think our frame of mind was good.”
Last night’s loss was the second straight for the Bruins – the first time the team has lost back-to-back games on the road this season.
It’s easy to assume that putting 40-plus shots on net without scoring a goal can get frustrating, but defenseman Andrew Ference
said the team has to harness their emotions and maintain clear focus on the task at hand.
The task? Getting back on track.
“As a team we’re talking about getting our game in order,” Ference said. “I think we’re honestly taking steps in the right direction, so I think as long as we keep building our game back up and not focus necessarily just on [Sunday], but focus on where our game is and where it’s going. I think if you can do that, you can keep the frustration at bay.
“Everyone in here knows just being frustrated doesn’t bring a lot of success – it just puts a decline in your game. There’s been a good effort – good determination by guys to get our game back. I think we have to draw that from tonight.
“On a game-by-game basis it’s frustrating, but I think in the big picture we’re making strides in the right way.”
--- Anthony Gulizia