|Tyler Seguin’s first-period shot that hit the goal post against San Jose is indicative of the Bruins’ struggles. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)|
In search of some early risers
In the first period of Saturday night’s 4-2 loss to San Jose, David Krejci’s point-blank chance sailed over the net. Tyler Seguin’s snap shot struck iron. Nathan Horton, on a partial breakaway, thudded a wrister off Antti Niemi’s left pad.
Finishing, especially early in games, has been a regular bugaboo amid the Bruins’ 3-5-0 start.
“It’s just that we don’t bury our chances, then the other team comes back and scores a goal,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “I don’t know that we’re having [bad] starts. It’s going back to not capitalizing. That’s the biggest issue that’s hurting us right now.’’
The Bruins had no trouble putting a six-spot on Toronto and backup netminder Jonas Gustavsson Thursday. But that outburst has been the exception rather than the rule. The Bruins are averaging 2.25 goals per game, a number that should be higher given the scoring chances they’ve had.
“There’s a lot of teams right now struggling with these same issues,’’ Julien said. “I can have answers for a lot of things, whether it’s moving guys around, but the one thing I can’t do is put the puck in the net for them. This is something they’ve got to figure out on their own about bearing down and being ready.’’
The Bruins had good sniffs Saturday night. But they didn’t have many repeated flurries. So far, the Bruins haven’t ramped up their in-zone cycling game, which emphasizes placing pucks behind defensemen, establishing the forecheck, and putting consecutive shots on goal. Niemi wasn’t asked to make many second stops Saturday.
Quick on draw
The Bruins had the quicker and stronger sticks on the draw against the Sharks, one of the league’s top faceoff clubs. Chris Kelly led the charge, winning 9 of 13 faceoffs. The Bruins are now tied with the Sharks as the best faceoff team in the NHL. Both teams have won 54.9 percent of their draws.
Krejci (61.2 percent), Patrice Bergeron (59.3), and Gregory Campbell (56.2) are over 50 percent. Of the regular centers, only Kelly (46.1) has lost more faceoffs than he’s won. Including Rich Peverley and Seguin, the Bruins have six players who are comfortable taking faceoffs.
Caron to Providence
The Bruins assigned Jordan Caron to Providence. The second-year pro had been a healthy scratch for the last two games. For now, Benoit Pouliot has grabbed the job as the third-line left wing.
Caron dressed for Providence’s game against Albany yesterday at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Because the Bruins don’t play until Thursday, he could be recalled before then to serve as the extra forward.
Caron has gone scoreless in four games, averaging 9:03 of ice time per game. He has not appeared as comfortable as he was during the preseason, when he was one of the team’s best players.
A day of rest
The Bruins were given yesterday off. They will resume skating today at Ristuccia Arena. It will be the first of three scheduled practices before Thursday’s home match against Montreal . . . Johnny Boychuk blocked five shots Saturday, equaling the number he had in seven previous games. Boychuk was shaken up after blocking a third-period shot with his right arm, but was OK after the game . . . The Canadiens acquired ex-Bruin Petteri Nokelainen from Phoenix yesterday. Nokelainen arrived along with former University of New Hampshire defenseman Garrett Stafford for Brock Trotter and a 2012 seventh-round pick. Nokelainen could be in uniform against his old club on Thursday. Nokelainen, close friends with fellow Finn Tuukka Rask, was well-liked by his Boston teammates. The Bruins swapped Nokelainen to Anaheim for Steve Montador March 4, 2009. So-so hockey sense always has been Nokelainen’s issue . . . The Bruins have allowed the first goal in six straight games. “The first couple minutes, we seemed like we weren’t even there,’’ Boychuk said about Saturday night’s game. “They came out and scored the first goal. After that, it kind of woke us up a little bit and we started to play better.’’ . . . Campbell and Shawn Thornton, two-thirds of the fourth line, are both scoreless this season. The fourth line hasn’t been as consistent as it was during last year’s postseason, when the grinders created regular scoring chances during their limited shifts. Daniel Paille, the No. 4 left wing, has one goal and zero assists . . . Ex-Bruin Marco Sturm is expected to make his Panthers debut tonight against the Canadiens. Florida acquired Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson from Vancouver Saturday for David Booth, Steven Reinprecht, and a 2013 third-round pick. In less than nine months, Sturm has been a member of five franchises: Boston, Los Angeles, Washington, Vancouver, and Florida. That’s a lot of cross-continental travel.