The bi-polar or “Jekyll and Hyde” Bruins were back at it on Monday. After having had an amazing game on Saturday against the Philadelphia Flyers that saw the Black and Gold not only win with an impressive 6-3 score, but also saw Brad Marchand have a five point night (1 goal, 4 assists), the flat and lacking emotion team took to the ice as the Boston Bruins hosted the New York Islanders for the second time in less than 30 days.
The last time the Islanders were in town, the home team lost in a 4-2 game that made the Islanders netminder Thomas Greiss look like a superstar as he earned a career high 48 saves and the win. This time, Greiss got to do something that hadn’t been done by an Isles’ team in Boston before—shut out the Bruins on their home ice.
The Bruins were certainly lacking in many aspects of their game Monday. There was an uncharacteristically high number of incidents where Bruins players fanned on their shots—almost as though the sticks they were holding weren’t the right length for them. They were outmaneuvered in the faceoff dot, with the exception of Patrice Bergeron. And by the end of the second period, they had let the Islanders score three goals in 5:20 of play.
This “lack of battle” approach to a team that is not in a playoff position has been seen all too frequently this season with the Bruins. It’s almost as though their inner voices tell them they can take the game off.
“I mean, it certainly has that sort of trend in how we’ve played and what teams we have gotten points against and what teams we haven’t,” a frustrated David Backes said postgame. “But, I think we should have a little séance, burning the standings, and just kind of play each game for the two points that are there each night and let you guys write the stories and let somebody with a big calculator figure it all out at the end of the year. If we concentrate on one game at a time, no matter who it is, the points add up and you get to play into April, May, June.”
“Well yeah, maybe in a way, but at the same time they beat us 4-2 the last game so we knew that they’re still a good team even though they’re in last place,” concurred a somber Patrice Bergeron. “And it was an opportunity for us to keep moving up or keep pushing teams down, and we have to realize that you need to do that to those types of teams because the standings are really tight.”
The Bruins will travel to Detroit to take on the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday night before returning back to Boston to play host to the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams will require that the more motivated and emotional Bruins team show up, because they can’t afford to take many more losses or they will see their season end in early April.