Over the course of an 82-game regular season in the National Hockey League, there are going to be times when a team (even a very good one) simply fails to show up or seemingly nothing goes right in a given contest. However, after watching the Bruins (23-19-5) fall flat on their faces in Monday’s embarrassing 4-0 loss to the Islanders (17-17-8) at TD Garden, an alarming trend has emerged for this edition of the black and gold. That marked the third time already in only 47 games that Boston has lost to a last-place club on their own home ice.
After Monday’s pathetic shutout, Bruins head coach Claude Julien was at a loss for words trying to explain away another soul-crushing defeat at the Garden, to a bad team that had already won there (4-2 on Dec. 20) less than a month earlier. “We were flat from the get-go,” he admitted. “We weren’t generating much (Boston outshot New York 7-3 in a tediously boring first period) and we made mistakes in the second period (when they were outscored 3-0 and the game’s final outcome was sealed for all intents and purposes). Things were totally out of whack in terms of our defending.”
On the surface, no NHL club should be underestimated since no matter who they are, they still have world-class talent and motivation all along their rosters. The Bruins can pretend that they never take an opponent lightly but their recent results prove otherwise since in addition to the two losses to the Islanders (the worst team in the Eastern Conference both times they met), they also fell 4-2 to the Avalanche (13-27-1) on Dec. 8 at TD Garden and Colorado has been the worst team in the Western Conference basically all season-long.
Boston captain Zdeno Chara was extremely disappointed with his club’s effort on Monday afternoon, where they threw away a chance to build a mini win-streak (3 games) and continue the momentum from solid wins over the Blues (23-16-5) last Thursday in St. Louis and Flyers (22-18-6) on Saturday afternoon in Boston.
“We weren’t there today, either emotionally or physically,” admitted the veteran defenseman. “We have to make sure that we are in the right state of mind to play. It is frustrating: we let the fans down with our effort.”
If the B’s fail to make the playoffs this spring for the third year in a row, I can guarantee that they will look back on these particular losses and shake their collective heads. For Julien who has to be living on a seat that continues to warm up by the hour, how many more of these no-shows can continue to occur under his watch before he gets fired? Likewise, how long can Boston’s same nucleus of players stay together when their focus is so unpredictable along with their overall results? They are at Detroit (19-19-6) on Wednesday (8, NBC Sports) in a huge Atlantic Division tilt.