Changing on the Fly: Help wanted for B's offense

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Changing on the Fly: Help wanted for B's offense

So whats at the top of the list for Bruins wants, needs and improvements as they ready for golfing season way too soon?

The single-biggest breakdown during the seven-game loss to the Washington Capitals was the offensive department. There wasnt enough finish when it mattered most and there werent enough offensive chances of the quality variety.

It was an eye-opening for a hockey club that thrived through the regular season.

The Bruins went from being the only team in the NHL with six 20-goal scorers on the NHLs second-best offense at 3.17 goals per game during the regular season to a gang that couldnt shoot straight once the playoffs began.

They dropped down an entire goal-per-game in the postseason, and a host of those 20-plus goal-scorers (Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Brad Marchand . . . were looking at you) couldnt even get a sniff.

We obviously didnt score a lot of goals, and you know coming from a team during the regular season that scored. We certainly had a lot of goals. A lot of them were in the front end of the year, but we certainly have the talent skill to score so credit to Washington, said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, who will be making the changes necessary this summer. I think defensively we had a good series. I think offensively, we didnt score at the time we had to score and I think that we could have. So I think thats an area well have to improve, I will improve that well figure out as the summer goes on.

Some of our guys didnt perform as we expected. We all have seen Looch do wonderful things with Krejci and statistically they didnt . . . but no one really did. Theyre two really good players and you want more from them. But theyre two really good players and theyve given us some really good things. So well delve into that and see where it takes us.

So what do the Bruins do from here?

It isnt the Achilles-sized weakness the Bruins experienced the season following the dismissal of Phil Kessel to Toronto, but it was an issue that cropped up when the season was at its most paramount.

Nathan Hortons injury was clearly a factor, and the Bruins never truly got back into their proper offensive state of being once he was removed. Rich Peverley is ideally a third line player that gives the Bruins incredible depth as he did during Bostons Stanley Cup run, but he was filling in for the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Horton on a line with Krejci and Lucic.

So good health will help the Black and Gold on some level, but what are the bolder and more likely solutions?

There are a couple of things: first hope that wunderkind Tyler Seguin turns into the 35-40 goal sniper theyre eternally in search of after jumping to 29 goals as a sophomore in the league. The 20-year-old has all the goods, but still has to prove he can snake through the toughest team defenses and solve the greatest goaltenders in the world. He started to show it toward the end of the playoff run, but it was too little, too late.

In the end you want to get production. Im sure there are lots of guys that feel that way on this team, said Seguin. Now having a first round of the playoffs under my belt I can take that into my future and my career.

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

Backes: Bruins were ‘wounded’ after ugly Detroit loss

BRIGHTON, Mass – It certainly sounded like there were some things that made the Wednesday night loss in Detroit a little different for the Bruins.

The Bruins media corps conducted postgame interviews in the hallway rather than in the visiting dressing room after what must have been a combustible atmosphere immediately following the shootout defeat. 

There was also evidence of anger in the visitor’s dressing room at Joe Louis Arena, according to reports, with a door off its hinges when the media was able to get a look inside the dressing room area.

David Backes confirmed something was different about the loss after blowing a pair of three-goal leads, and failing to follow up their dreadful no-show vs. the Islanders with a winning performance against another bad team in Detroit. The B’s forward said the plane ride home from Detroit was solemn and quiet, and that it was clear the Bruins team was “wounded” after a crushing loss.

“Both [losses] can be great lessons if we learn from it, and neither was very enjoyable. That was probably the quietest I think our guys were all year on that plane ride home from Detroit,” said Backes. “To me, that’s a great sign that it hit us in the heart, and it hit us where it really mattered. We’re thinking about how we can turn the tide and thinking about we can be victorious the next time out.

“We had the lead, and in a lot of instances you’re expecting, as you should, to come out of there with two points. We’re at the time in the season where wins need to be garnered and taken home.

“There were a lot of aspects where we should have grabbed the game back. When you feel like you’ve had a lot of opportunities to take the game and you don’t do it, it’s not a good feeling. I was reflecting on that during a very quiet team plane ride back from Detroit, and it seemed pretty clear that the whole team was feeling wounded. I think it’s a good sign that guys were feeling that way, and that means they’re going to do everything in their power to not have that feeling again.”

The words are encouraging from a 32-year-old natural leader in Backes, who has seen good times and bad as captain of the St. Louis Blues in his 10-year NHL career. But the proof is ultimately on the ice where the Bruins have games against the Blackhawks and Penguins coming up and face some very stiff tests coming off a couple of losses against the worst teams in the East that exposed Black and Gold fragility at this point in the season. 


 

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

After knee injury, Beleskey set to return for Bruins vs. Blackhawks

BRIGHTON, Mass – The Bruins, looking for a spark after terrible, back-to-back losses to the New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings, are hoping the return of Matt Beleskey from a knee injury can help provide the inspiration. 

The blue-collar left winger has missed the past 23 games with a torn MCL in his right knee suffered in early December against the Buffalo Sabres, but now he’s easing back into the lineup on the fourth line in Friday night’s showdown with the Chicago Blackhawks.

Beleskey was skating with Dominic Moore and Austin Czarnik on the fourth line at morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena and should be expected to throw a few hard hits and play with some intensity in his return.

“I’m ready to go and excited to get back out there,” said Beleskey, who has been skating with the team for roughly a week after giving the knee sufficient time to heal. “I’ve just got to keep it simple and do what I do well: Be hard on pucks, take the body and just try and find your groove. You don’t want to expect too much in your first game back, but you just want to be able to contribute.

“’I’ve been saving [the pent-up energy] for a while, so I’m ready to get back out there and hopefully provide a spark for us.”

The Beleskey return also provides the player with a bit of a reset button after a slow start to the season that saw him with two goals and five points along with a minus-6 rating in 24 games played for the Black and Gold prior to his injury. Here are the projected line combos and D-pairs against the Blackhawks based on morning skate today:

Marchand-Bergeron-Vatrano

Schaller-Krejci-Pastrnak

Spooner-Nash-Backes/Hayes

Beleskey/Blidh-Moore-Czarnik

 

Chara-Carlo

Krug-McQuaid

Morrow-Liles

 

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