BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins have been able to win hockey games and for the most part keep up pace with the rest of their Eastern Conference competition.
But the Bruins also scored a grand total of four goals in their three-game road trip through Arizona, Colorado and Minnesota. Their top two forwards, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, have gone ice cold during that stretch. Bergeron has a surprising zero points in his past six games and only two goals and four points in 14 games this season.
It feels like Bergeron has been looking to get into that normal offensive groove ever since the NHL regular season started and it’s simply eluded him to this point.
Missing time with a lower body injury at the beginning of the season certainly didn’t help Bergeron’s momentum or production. There have been times on ice when he hasn’t looked exactly his usual dominant self in all zones. There's also the zeroes across the board for No. 37 on the power play, an area where he dominated offensively last season for a pretty decent B's special teams group.
Bergeron has managed 25 shots on net in those past six scoreless games, however, and enjoyed his share of offensive chances.
So, he’s trying to avoid simple frustration amid a pointless streak, and working hard to get something going for himself, and for his linemates.
“It’s second nature to get frustrated, but that’s just going to make things worse. It’s about making sure you’re really bearing down and doing the things that give you success. When you keep working hard you’re going to get those chances, and they’re going to go in eventually. Then the confidence is going to build up,” said Bergeron. “Obviously the points aren’t coming, so you just keep plugging at it and finding ways to create chances. Eventually it’s going to go in.
“For me it’s about making sure I’m helping defensively and playing both ways. That’s part of my game, so I’m just trying to do that.”
After a torrid start to his season, Marchand has just one goal in his past eight games and was uncharacteristically invisible in Thursday night’s loss to the Minnesota Wild. Both forwards will have to ignite offensively Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets with right wing David Pastrnak out for the second straight game, but Claude Julien said the chances are there for the dynamic duo to begin another scoring binge for the Black and Gold.
“They are getting their chances. It’s important for them not to get frustrated because when I look at some of the scoring chances – Bergeron had like four of them [against Minnesota] in that last game – that’s the encouraging part,” said Julien. “It’s just a matter of time before those guys score again. We were patient with some other guys earlier in the season when they were slow out of the gate, and they started turning things around.
“I’m confident those guys will do the same thing. But as long as we’re winning hockey games, or most of them, you can live with that stuff. You just have to hope it turns around quickly. We hope that happens, and it helps us win even more.”
It would seem to be a matter of time before the next Bergeron and Marchand offensive explosion. Now might be an opportune time with another five game stretch over the next 7 ½ days ending with a Sunday afternoon home matinee vs. Tampa Bay.