WILMINGTON Right now the Bruins are allowing more goals (19) than theyre scoring (18), and thats not a recipe for success. The Bs are in the bottom third in the NHL with 2.25 goals per game, tied for 21st with the Dallas Stars, and they spent much of Monday morning at Ristuccia Arena working on finishing plays in the scoring areas.
The Bs started practice without Tim Thomas and Tuukka Rask and instead placed four nets around the practice ice to encourage the players to shoot the puck often and go under the bar with their offensive attempts. It was an appropriate first step in three straight days of practice leading up to a home-and-home series against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday and Saturday night.
Were trying to improve our scoring and getting better in those areas is something thats pretty important to us, said coach Claude Julien. Weve done this in the past . . . Its not the first time and hopefully it helps us along the way.
Weve got an opportunity to work on those kinds of things. I dont think were that far off, but weve just got to clean up a couple of areas that will allow us to score a little bit more. At the other end, too, I think we can do a little better and a little stingier. At both ends we could be a little bit better, balance things out and turn some of those losses into wins.
Skilled forwards like Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, along with defenseman Zdeno Chara, have gotten off to slow starts offensively given their abilities, and the Bs fourth line has only registered one point on the entire season. Second-year forward Tyler Seguin is off to a point-per-game start, but the rest of the Bs players know that its time to start finishing off some of the plays that have been out there on the ice for them.
There have been enough posts and crossbars already in eight games to last half a season for the Black and Gold, and anecdotally the Bs slow starts are partially due to the teams inability to finish off scoring chances early in the game. That was part of the story in the loss to the Sharks Saturday night, and its something the players are looking to correct.
You can have confidence and you just miss the net or the goalie makes a good stop, said Johnny Boychuk. But youve got to keep that confidence, so youll know you'll bury your chances the next time.
If you look at the game against San Jose we probably out-chanced them 2-to-1 by the end of the game. It seemed like we were taking the play to them. We just have to make sure were making good on our chances. We just need to make sure if we get a chance that were putting it in the net.
Thus far its a far cry from the Bruins team that averaged 2.98 goals per game last year, but its nearly the same cast of Bs characters as last season. The absence of Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder and Tomas Kaberle shouldnt be a mortal blow to the Bruins offense, so offensive answers are there.
Its just up to the Bruins to find the shooting range, and they were working on manufacturing that offense yet again Monday morning.