BOSTON -- The Bruins and Claude Julien are seeing a disturbing trend with many of their games thus far this season.
The Bs stormout of the startingchute firing on most if not all cylinders and generate some pretty good offensive chances, but they don't capitalize early in the game on those changes. That little first period tease ends up being cause for frustration later on in the game when the Bruins either A) get wildly out of their game plan or B) make mistakes out of misplaced anger and emotion as they did on Tuesday night while playing right into the hands of agitating Tim Gleason.
Its what happened to the Bruins against the Flyers opening night when they should have been up by three or four goals in the first period, it happened on the road in Carolina after a first period filled with Grade A scoring chances turned away by Cam Ward, and it went down again against the Hurricanes againTuesday night in a 4-1 defeat at TD Garden where the B's simply "lost it" in the final 20 minutes.
I think what I saw from tonight is that we start off the game well. In the first period we had some great chances, but were not capitalizing, Julien said. What I see is frustration setting in. The minute we start getting frustrated, we lose focus of our game and then it gets worse and worse. Thats been a bit of a pattern this year.
If you look back at the Philadelphia game, we start off well in the first period, same thing and we didnt capitalize . . . even Colorado. There have been some games where we come out of the game well and have some great opportunities to score, but its not going in right now. The frustration is getting the better of us. I think its important that we fight our way through it and manage our frustration here.
The third period against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night was all about losing focus and letting frustration creep into their game, and Nathan Horton turned into the poster boy for that projected anger. The B's right winger took a single cross check to the back from Gleason, knew the Carolina defenseman wasn't going to fight when he tossed off his gloves and then proceeded to beat him into the ice anyway. That it happened just 31 seconds after the Bruins had halved their deficit to 2-1 on a Rich Peverley goal gives one a pretty clear pictures of what Gleason was doing -- and the kind of trap that Horton willingly fell into on a night when two points were still within reach.Andrew Ference said that much of it is reflected back on the ineffectiveness of Boston's offense, and individual players feeling pressure to produce as they did last season. It's not happening early this year, and many of the Bruins are getting out of the practices that made them so effective.
I think that we wanted to start off with a better record, and guys personally wanted to get off with better numbers to get their stuff going. They wanted to feel sharp about their game, said Ference. But you cant let those frustrations get in the way of having success. Were a good team with a good system, but we run into troubles when you start searching outside of the system trying to do too much. Once we get outside of it even if its only a couple of guys it really blows up the way that were trying to play.
If there was one thing the Bruins definitely did against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night, it was blow up in the final 20 minutes of play. Sure, they showed some fight and emotion against a team that traditionally doesn't bring it out of them. But its time for the Bruins to recognize their frustratedpatterns and address them before theyre doomed to repeat them overand overagain during such an important stretch of home ice hockey early in the year.