WASHINGTON – Far too many times this season, the Bruins have been powered by one forward line, and so it was in Wednesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center.
Brad Marchand has his third two-goal game in his past four and supplied all of the offense for the Black and Gold when things really mattered.
So, while it looks from the outside like the Bruins are tapping into more offense, it’s really just alternative facts with just one player, and one line, creating the offensive surge for the Black and Gold.
That’s all well and good for No. 63 with 13 goals in his past 15 games, but that’s not exactly a sustainable model of offensive success for the Bruins over their final third of the regular season. So, while David Krejci did tally a late goal during garbage time at the end of the third period, there wasn’t enough push from that line with David Backes being held without a single shot while Krejci and Frank Vatrano were effectively neutralized for most of the night.
“It’s pretty obvious that some guys have to step up and give us some offense here,” said Claude Julien. “Our power play is good with scoring goals, but five-on-five we have to be better. You can’t just rely on line to score goals for you every night, so some guys have to step up in that department and start giving us a little bit more five-on-five. Those are guys that are very capable of doing it as well.”
The frustrating part for Krejci and the B’s second line, in particular, was that they couldn’t build on a strong night vs. Tampa on Tuesday night, and were merely passable (like the third line) while staying one step ahead of nonexistent (the fourth line, which also featured a rough Dominic Moore turnover on the penalty kill). That’s not good enough for a B’s hockey club that needs all hands on deck, and is going to need something closer to a superhuman offensive performance when they allow five goals to the Washington Capitals.
“We need to find more scoring. We can’t rely on one line every night,” said Krejci. “They win us some games, but it’s not enough. Other guys have to step up. If we don’t do that then we’re going to be in trouble. We have to start doing it because that’s the only way we’re going to be winning hockey games.
“I think we maybe gave [the Capitals] too much respect. We’re a team. We’re a five man unit on the ice so it’s not just the D’s and the forwards. We all play together and we have to communicate, we all have to stay on the same page and we have to create more scoring chances. We didn’t do that enough, and that’s why we were behind.”
So, put a more diversified offense on the checklist of things that the Bruins need if they’re going to find success down the stretch, while pushing toward a playoff spot that’s quickly slipping out of reach.