Iginla frustrated after missing chances

Iginla frustrated after missing chances
October 14, 2013, 11:15 pm
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(USA Today Sports Images)

Jarome Iginla wouldn’t give much credit to the Red Wings after Monday afternoon’s defeat at TD Garden.

The Bruins had fallen by a 3-2 score against a Detroit team that played the gritty game while blocking 22 shots in front of an effective Jonas Gustavsson, and the Wings offense had taken advantage of nearly every Boston mistake. It was a solid game from the Wings, but Iginla clearly felt like there could have easily been a different outcome if he’d been able to bury a shot or two.

The 36-year-old winger generated 11 shot attempts and pumped out a team-high five shots on net despite falling short without a goal in 21:13 of ice time for the Black and Gold. But he also missed on a couple of one-timer opportunities from the left face-off circle where he’s become a power play assassin over the years, and as a result the B’s went a futile 0-for-5 on the PP in defeat.

Iginla’s biggest lament was a pair of wide open shots during Boston’s nearly full two minutes of 5-on-3 advantage in the third period while still down two goals to the Wings. Iginla missed on both chances, and was kicking himself following the loss.

“I had some great looks tonight…I’ve had great looks for a few games," Iginla said. "Pretty much I’ve been getting more chances. You get to a five-on-three, you get chances like that, and you want to score,” said Iginla. “I think I missed the net on a couple goals. I think it’s probably just being a little too anxious.

“[I’m] just lifting my head up. You want to get that goal for the team, and just get one, and get feeling it. At times you squeeze a little too hard, it’s all those clichés and sayings you hear. You try to swing a little too hard and lift [your] head a little bit. [I’m] just not in a grove there where you just want to kind of will it into the net as opposed to letting it happen.”

Iginla leads the Bruins with 19 shots on goal in five games and has undoubtedly been active for the Black and Gold throughout the first couple of weeks of the regular season. But the future Hall of Famer is also still searching for his first lamp-lighter in a Black and Gold uniform, and perhaps he’s pressing a bit looking to get off to a good start in his new NHL city. Claude Julien knows that Iginla missed a couple chances on Monday afternoon that he normally buries, and there’s got to be a reason behind it.

“I think he can shoot the puck a lot better than we’ve seen him because we know he’s a good shooter. Whether that’s pressing or whether that’s circumstances, I don’t know. But he’s been around the league long enough, he’s going to find his way,” said Julien. “He’s going to score some goals for us and he’s going to be the player we thought he would be for our hockey club.

“Right now it just isn’t there. I see maybe a little hesitation in shooting where, when a player has confidence, their release is a little quicker too.”

So where does Iginla go from here?

Fortunately, he can look at the success story of Loui Eriksson for inspiration as the Swedish winger has goals in two straight games after scuffling out of the gate in Boston’s first three games. There’s also the simple fact that any guy that’s scored more than 500 career goals has probably been through a slump or two in his day as well.

“Unfortunately, I’ve been here many times. It’s all part of the game. You just try to work hard and keep going, and keep getting the chances, and always keep saying that the next one is going to go in,” said Iginla. “[David Krejci] and Looch [Milan Lucic] have been playing great and working hard. I’m trying to work hard with them. I’ve had really good chances for a number of games.

“Whenever you win you never feel as bad, you just shrug it off and say next time. But whenever you lose by a goal, it always feels a lot worse when you know that one of those could have made a difference. I’ve been here before and you just keep working through it and stay positive and keep trying to get open. [You] keep believing the next one goes in.”

The shots have been there for Iginla. The chances have absolutely been there for Iginla. Now it’s simply a matter of a puck or two falling for the power forward as he continues to get comfortable in the Black and Gold.