BRIGHTON, Mass. — The Bruins are in the midst of their first extended losing streak of the season after dropping their third game in a row against the Flyers on Sunday night, and they are looking to end that stretch of futility with a couple of big divisional games next on the schedule.
On Tuesday night at TD Garden, the Bruins will host a Florida Panthers club that’s just four points behind the B’s and tied for third place in the Atlantic, and then Saturday will be another road showdown with arguably their most heated rival these days, the Maple Leafs.
After leaky goaltending, penalty troubles and a horrendous start marred each of their last three games, the Bruins are looking more at playing a better all-around brand of hockey than fine-tuning one specific area of their game.
“Consistency. Against Philly we didn’t finish the first period very well. The third period we got to our game and were the much better team. That’s typically how we play when we’re playing well, so that’s what we want to see more of,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We didn’t get the start we wanted in Detroit and Montreal, so the starts obviously and keeping it out of our net early. Some of that was we got ourselves into penalty trouble in Detroit, so that’s discipline. So better, more consistent effort from start to finish would be the formula right now.”
The Bruins have their challenges with Jake DeBrusk, Torey Krug, David Backes and Brett Ritchie all injured and leaving Boston depleted in both the offense and size/strength departments, but the Black and Gold showed in the third period against Philly that they are still capable of playing at a very high level.
“You want to take what we did right in the third period against Philly and bring that for a full 60-minute effort this time around,” said Patrice Bergeron. “We’re playing a good team with a lot of skill, but if we take care of the way we play and the details… that’s how we’ve been successful in this league. You try to carry some of the positives over and leave the rest behind you.
“Every game is a new one and you need to be in that moment. Every year there’s ups and downs in an 82-game season and you obviously have to battle through [them]. We’re a team that loves challenges and we go from there.”
The common denominator in the losses to Detroit and Philly would be that they were against teams that weren’t in the playoffs last season, and perhaps the Bruins underestimated them this time around. That shouldn’t have been the case with a Flyers team that’s won four in a row and is right in the thick of things in the Metro Division, and it certainly won’t be the case against the Panthers or Maple Leafs, who are already nipping at their heels.
If the Bruins once again look this week like a hockey club unable to elevate their game or play like they did in the month of October, then it will be time to get concerned about the B’s after such an impressive start to the year.
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