The Boston Bruins are just five games into their 2017-18 campaign and are an abysmal 2-3-0 with two of those three losses coming at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche in back-to-back games.
Even though it’s extremely early in the season, and the Bruins are still without centers Patrice Bergeron and David Backes, it may be time to hit the panic button.
Their latest win came against the winless Arizona Coyotes and their Sunday night loss to the expansion team Las Vegas Golden Knights was particularly disheartening because it came against their former goalie Malcolm Subban – who had a shutout with 30 seconds remaining in the game before letting in his first goal.
Left winger Brad Marchand told reporters after the 3-1 loss on Sunday that the team may have been unprepared for the game while goalie Tuukka Rask said he would only comment on goaltending – both unsettling comments from veteran leaders of the team.
Comments made around the locker room and to the media may be cause for concern – but their schedule is an even bigger concern. Through their first 10 games, Boston plays just one team that made the 2016-17 playoffs and have plenty of off-days to prepare – both mentally and physically – for the Vancouver Canucks (1-2-0) on Thursday, but something just isn’t clicking.
Rask has already been pulled from the net during a game, the young studs are not living up to the expectations surrounding them and the team just looks sloppy – both on defense and offense.
Again, it is only five games into the season – maybe the panic button is being hit too early. The Bruins may just be off to a rough start to the season and can turn it around with this homestand coming up.
Maybe getting Bergeron back in the lineup to win faceoffs will spark something. Maybe getting Backes back will help push the team to the front of the net and give this team a sense of urgency.
Along with the loss of Bergeron and Backes, the team is also without center Noel Acciari until the end of November with a fractured finger and the black and gold also lost defenseman Adam McQuaid (leg) and center Ryan Spooner (lower body) in the loss to the Golden Knights.
Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports Boston highlights specific problems the Bruins have faced through their first five games – and many of them need to be addressed before Thursday night’s matchup against the Vancouver Canucks at the TD Garden.
One problem he pinpoints is the team not having any flow to their game – from sloppy passes to not being able to get to the front of the net – the team is not hustling or fighting hard enough for the puck.
A team that has promising young talent such as right winger David Pastrnak, defenseman Charlie McAvoy and left wingers Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork should not be as sloppy and unprepared as they have been.
It may just take a few games to get into the swing of things with the young players developing – or it may take getting Bergeron back into the lineup and back and back on the line with Marchand. Head coach Bruce Cassidy said Bergeron has made “good progression” with his lower body injury, but has not said when he could return.
Whatever may be wrong with the chemistry of this team needs to be fixed before Thursday – their puck handling needs to be better, they need to make cleaner passes and they need to get to the front of the net and light the lamp.
The Bruins have a great opportunity to get a winning streak going at home this coming week – and it’s going to take 100 percent from every player through the 60 minutes of the game.