For a team that’s lost out on a playoff spot in each of the last two seasons by one measly point, the Boston Bruins are once again paving the way for something like that to happen to them again this season.
The Bruins started the day on Sunday in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, a single point behind the Florida Panthers and three points behind the final wild card spot in the East. They’re also the only NHL team that hasn’t managed to collect at least one “loser point” for pushing a game into overtime or the shootout before eventually losing the game. Instead they’ve dropped a one goal game to the Calgary Flames on Friday night, and lost a couple of one goal games to Montreal and Minnesota after getting scored on in the final minute of the third period when it appeared that overtime was well within their grasp.
That’s three points the Bruins have let slip right through their gloved fingers, and right now that’s the difference between the Black and Gold being in or out of the playoffs if the regular season ended this weekend. It’s something that should, and does, have the antennae up for the Bruins players that don’t want history to repeat itself again this season for the third year in a row.
“It’s three or four points now that we’ve let slip through our fingers,” said Torey Krug. “You can go back to Montreal or Minnesota, or even [Friday] night against Calgary, we have the opportunity to come away with points, and we need to realize that. You don’t want to say ‘hey, let’s play to a tie’ because then you’re not feeling like yourself, and then all of a sudden you’re sitting on your heels and they’re scoring.
“But we need to realize there are some points to be had, and at the end of the year we don’t want to look back at certain games where we let a few get away there. We’ll probably have to talk about that as a group.”
The Bruins have also won five of those one goal games in regulation, so it’s not all bad for the Black and Gold. But the good teams, the playoff teams are able to make a push while busting through for a goal in the third period during games like Friday’s loss to Calgary, and at least drag themselves into overtime before taking their chances in the 3-on-3 overtime session.
Some of it is about a lack of offense for this Bruins team right now that can’t push for goals when they need them, and some of it is about sheer force of will that needs to take over a little more for a Black and Gold group three years removed from the playoffs now.
Whatever the case, the Bruins need to solve this regulation loss problem right now and find a way to accumulate some stray points even when it’s clear that it might not ultimately be their night in the win-loss column.