What happened to the Bruins? Wrong question.
What happens to teams who play and beat the Bruins? Right question.
Answer: Exhaustion is a factor. Let the facts speak for themselves:
Phoenix beats Boston by one goal in January, and goes on to lose their next game by 4 goals, and the next by 1, including a loss to the Islanders, who are currently in last place in the Eastern Conference.
The NY Rangers: After losing to Boston in January, they come back to beat Boston by one goal in March, and go on to lose their next game by 3 goals last Monday to Carolina, which is now in 8th place in the Eastern Conference.
Florida beats Boston by one goal, and lose their next game by 4 goals--to Boston.
Washington: January. They beat Boston by 1, win the next game in OT against the Islanders, and go on to lose the next 2 games by 1.
Washington: February. Win in OT against Boston, and have not won a game since, losing the next game by 4, the next by 3, then by 1, and 1 again.
Nashville beats Boston by one goal, and goes on to lose their next game by 2 goals to Ottawa, currently in 12th place in the Eastern Conference. Nashville then loses the following game by 4, and the next by 1.
New Jersey: January. They appear to be the exception, but that's an oversimplification. They beat Boston by 1 in January, won their next game by 1 in OT, and lost the next by 3. The aftermath of playing Boston was to become even more evident in February.
New Jersey: February. They beat Boston again by 1 goal in February, won their next game by 1, and lost the next by 4. To Florida.
Minnesota beats Boston by 1 in January, and then loses by 2, followed by another 2 goal loss to Columbus.
San Jose beats Boston by 2 in February, including an empty netter and penalty shot by rookie Steven Stamkos, and then goes on to lose the next 3 games before getting back on their winning streak in February, which lasted for 4 games. After their 4-game winning streak, they won by 1 goal against Ottawa, and lost the subsequent 4 games, including a 3-goal loss to Dallas last week.
Tampa Bay wins by 1 against Boston, and then go on to lose their next 2 games by 2 and 1, followed by a 1-goal win, and 3 more losses by 2, 1 and 1. They go on to win one game and lose the next 3.
Philadelphia: February. Beats Boston in overtime with a goal deflected off a Bruin skate, and goes on to lose to the Bruins in the next game. They then win one more game against Atlanta, and lost to Ottawa by 3 goals.
Philadelphia: March. Beats Boston by 2, a game in which Nittymaki robbed Krejci with a save-of-the-week, and in which another deflected goal got past Fernandez. Philadelphia then goes on to lose the next game by 4 before beating Nashville on March 7th.
And there you have it. Playing the Bruins, and winning games against them, in particular, is taking its toll on other teams. Apparently, you can't give 200% every night, as you do when you meet the Bruins. They were the 'team to beat', indeed, but at what price? Quite a few points have been sacrificed in return. Eventually, the stats will even-out, and the Bruins will continue to accumulate points for all their hard work.
The only real tragedy in this story would be psychological: Hopefully, the boys aren't fooled by their losses, which do not seem to indicate failure on their part, but a tremendous challenge created for even the best teams out there.
The Bruins have raised the bar, and the rest have had to increase the quality of their performance. But remember this: There's a good reason why Lance Armstrong doesn't compete throughout the year before he goes on to win the Tour de France. It would be too exhausting. His eye is on the big prize.
is by far not meant as a complete explanation of current events. But
sometimes the facts aren't all in the details. Sometimes, it helps to
step back and look at the broader picture.