Sturm out to end drought
Reunion may help him put it together
WILMINGTON — He has scored 20 or more goals seven times in his 13 NHL seasons, all in the last nine years.
He is a dynamic presence on the ice and an affable one off it. But as easygoing as Marco Sturm is, the Bruins left wing knows that the offensive drought he has endured somehow, someway must come to an end.
The veteran had 22 goals this year but just one in his last 22 games. He had nary a point in the Bruins’ six-game series against the Sabres.
He has had some glorious scoring opportunities, none better than a shorthanded bid in the first period of Monday’s Game 6 that rattled off the crossbar. It’s been that kind of stretch for Sturm, who is hoping to turn it around beginning tomorrow when the Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 1 of the conference semifinals.
Now that he’s been reunited with center Patrice Bergeron and right wing Mark Recchi, he’s ready to turn it around.
“I hope so,’’ said Sturm. “The chances are here. I’ve just got to work on it and try to battle and try to do my best. Now I’m back with my two old linemates and hopefully they help me.
“I think we always play well together. There are going to be some opportunities for me, for sure. I’ve just got to skate and make some room. I did it in the past, same thing. As soon as I got back on it, I was always good for a few in a row. That’s just how it is.
“I’m one of the veterans here and I’ve got to lead, too, and I’ve just got to show it. I put a lot of pressure on myself, too, so maybe sometimes it’s not good. I’ve just got to relax and have fun out there. That’s what it’s all about.’’
Sturm acknowledged that he talks to himself sometimes, particularly when chances like the one in Game 6 come so close. He tries to remind himself that as long as he’s all around the net, eventually it will pay off.
“The chances are here,’’ he said. “I do a lot of good things, other things right. I’ve just got to hopefully score. I get frustrated. Sometimes I feel like a rookie. I squeeze my [stick too hard] sometimes too. I think it’s just a matter of time.
“Hopefully I’m going to find the touch again.’’
Bergeron certainly believes it will happen.
“That’s the way it goes sometimes, that’s hockey,’’ said Bergeron. “He’s got the right attitude, though, he stays positive. He knows he’s got to keep shooting and keep putting the puck on net and somehow he’s going to get that ugly one and then it’s going to go from there.’’
Recchi said there are many contributions Sturm can make, and has made, aside from putting points on the scoresheet.
“Obviously, he’d love to score goals,’’ said Recchi. “But he does so many other good things for our hockey club. He’s a great penalty killer, he puts pressure on teams with his skating ability, he is great defensively, and he’s responsible.
“The other stuff will come for him because he has been getting opportunities. If he’s not getting any opportunities at all, then you worry about it. Every night, he gets a couple of great scoring chances, he uses his speed effectively, and those are going to start going in for him.’’
Fluto Shinzawa of the Globe staff contributed to this report.