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Bruins go into playoffs lacking momentum

Apr 29, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

Johnny Boychuck Getty Images

Even if you still consider the Boston Bruins legitimate Stanley Cup contenders — and, yes, you probably should — you can’t deny the fact they had the worst record of each of the 16 playoff teams in their last 10 games of the regular season (3-5-2).

And as CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty points out, the last Boston victory over a playoff team came all the way back on April 2, when the B’s beat the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.

The last time they beat a playoff team on the road was March 21, also against the Senators.

Not that the Bruins didn’t have excuses. The Boston Marathon bombing and manhunt forced two game postponements, not to mention all the anxiety.

And the B’s already had a busy last half of the shortened season on the schedule; they ended up playing 31 games in 59 days in March and April.

There were also injuries to key players, plus a handful of games where they outshot their opponents but just couldn’t finish on their chances.

“The last couple of games we’ve done some good things, and we’ve been more physical,” said B’s defenseman Johnny Boychuck. “We’ve had not as many turnovers at the blue line, which was a key. We had a lot of scoring chances. In playoffs we will make sure to put them in the net…and that’s the goal.”

Ready or not, Boston opens the playoffs Wednesday against the Maple Leafs at TD Garden.

Toronto, by the way, wasn’t exactly red-hot down the stretch either. The Leafs finished with four regulation losses in their last six and only managed to outshoot one of their final 13 opponents.

  1. jpelle82 - Apr 29, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    boston should be glad to get toronto instead of ottawa. bruins will be fine this round, toronto has been just as medicre as the bruins down the stretch here, the bruins talent and experience will supercede the warm and fuzzy feelings from ending the playoff drought in toronto and the original 6 novelty.

    • bigbadbruins77 - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      I agree. The sens will be a handful with Karlson back and hot goaltending. The habs just might go out in the first round. The bruins will have a good tune up series vs the leafs, prob win in 6. Will be good to have all their players back and give em a few games to get in sync before “gulp” playing the penguins in the second round with Crosby back.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:28 PM

        I think the Bruins will get by the Leafs though it won’t be easy. I expect the Bruins to be very physical and the Leafs will be able to take it. The Bruins being the better D team will prevail.

      • jpelle82 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:19 PM

        i’m not a fan of either team but am interested to watch bozak vs bergeron in the faceoff circle – the best of the best going at it in crucial situations could be the difference in some of these games.

  2. 8man - Apr 29, 2013 at 12:19 PM

    Lacking momentum? That is being kind. Missing an offense is really what they are. It is somewhat ironic though that their playoff opponent is perceived as inferior to who they would have played would they have been able to close the deal at home for the number 2 seed.

    After what I’ve seen since their 6-5 loss to the Habs at home, I don’t have any belief that any game against any opponent is an automatic W.

    C’mon, pull it together, Bruins!

    • dropthepuckeh - Apr 29, 2013 at 1:39 PM

      I agree, this offense is painful to watch. It’s as if they think they get points for passing the puck as much as possible without shooting on the PP. When they do shoot they miss the net more than often than not.

      If you lined up the eight qualifying teams in the East without knowing their point totals, I’d put the Bruins near 8th in terms of strength going into the playoffs. That said, Rask has been great and there is a chance the veterans can light a fire under the team and get things back on track. I am not holding my breathe though. There seems to be to much complacency. They match up poorly with everyone right now.

  3. mgp1219 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    As a lifetime B’s fan, I have to say I am completely discouraged at the way they have played this season. If they don’t change things in a hurry, it could be another 39 years before we see the Cup in Boston again.

    Every other team has figured out he Bruins’ system, so why hasn’t Claude made any adjustments??

    They need a puck CARRYING defenseman, not a puck moving defenseman. How many times are they going to pass the puck to a player who has a defender right there with him??

    They have almost no offensive zone time and often times they seem lost defensively. Not the same team from 2011, although most of the same players.

    IF they get past the Leafs, they’ll be done after the second round unless they change their system.

  4. nhstateline - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:21 PM

    it’s a combination of factors not just the system. They have several new players, had a bunch of injuries and a backloaded schedule. Claude, in my opinion, has dealt with all this well including last night’s speech that made me roll my eyes about how they should be happy to be in the playoffs. What else was he supposed to say in public ? I bet that’s not what he’s saying in the room either.

    The players, on the other hand, some have dealt with this a lot better than others. The core of this group has had motivational issues and been very inconsistent for years and we’ve seen both things down the stretch. That’s on them not the coaches. And it hasn’t been all of them or all of them at once either.

    • mgp1219 - Apr 29, 2013 at 2:40 PM

      I agree, it’s never just one thing. I’m not buying the injury excuse; look at Ottawa. They were probably the most decimated by injuries and they are right in the thick of things.

      The B’s really have no offensive threats other than Krejci, Marchand & Jagr. Seguin is overrated, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, he has a great shot, but if he comes down the wing and fires the puck on the goalie from 45 feet one more time, I’m going to rip my hair out. Make a move on the defenseman and pick a corner!! He has plenty of speed to do that. Lucic seems to be coming out of hibernation, but he has a tendency to wallow around his defensive zone in the playoffs.

      Also, why can’t they get the puck out of their defensive zone? That, in my opinion, is the system. I see opposing players going to the areas where the B’s d-men are going to pass the puck almost before the B’s forwards get there and the d-men still send the puck right to them. Why can’t they carry the puck a little longer? That is the Bruins system and that is not working.

  5. nhstateline - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    plus Carolina then Washington really showed people how to give the Bruins fits in the last couple of years: pinch the D up and try to pin the Bruins in their own end. Hence, the ongoing quest by the Bruins for the puck moving D man. It’ll break that right up.

  6. thehighcountrybear - Apr 29, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    At the risk of inciting wholly unwarranted abuse, I would argue the attached graphic is the definitive eastern conference metaphor…

    • drewzducks - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:19 PM

      Funny, I saw the photo and immediately thought of this:

    • drewzducks - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:20 PM

      Oops

  7. drewsylvania - Apr 29, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    “the last Boston victory over a playoff team came all the way back on April 2, when the B’s beat the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden.”

    That’s four games total against playoff teams, if you’re trolling at home.

  8. thehighcountrybear - Apr 29, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    Or is the graphic a screen grab of yet another patented Chris Neil end to end rush…?

  9. thehighcountrybear - Apr 29, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    Or, is the graphic the aftermath of the blast wave precipitated by Zdeno Chara’s ill-advised choice of a super-sized refried bean chicken’n egg salad burrito for the pre-game meal…?

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