After falling flat on Thursday night in a road loss to the Detroit Red Wings, the Bruins returned home Saturday night only to lose again, this one a 4-0 whitewashing at the hands of the powerful Washington Capitals. Alex Ovechkin scored two goals for the Caps and the Bruins couldn’t respond despite winning the shots on goal battle 29-21. There’s a distinct lack of energy in the Bruins’ play thus far, a sentiment echoed by center Chris Kelly, who chalked the two losses up to poor efforts and said the team isn’t working hard enough after the game. Here are three takeaways from Saturday night’s defeat.
1. The Bruins can’t score
Three games into the season and the Bs have three goals. That’s one per game. That’s not very good. Certainly, the absence of David Krejci, who will be eligible to come off of injured reserve in time for Monday’s matinee against the Colorado Avalanche, has severely hindered the Bruins’ ability to generate offense, but this much? The “top” line has featured Milan Lucic in his usual spot at left wing trying to play with youngsters Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser and predictably, there’s no chemistry and it’s not working. Lucic in particular has looked like a shell of himself.
Painful watching Milan Lucic. Head, legs, hands going in different directions. Might not get straight until next month.
— Fluto Shinzawa (@GlobeFluto) October 12, 2014
Additionally, the Bs are 1-for-11 on the power play and while that aspect of their game has never been awesome, it’s simply impossible to succeed when it’s that inept. Coach Claude Julien put Spooner on the left wing with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson in the third period while moving Chris Kelly up to center Lucic and Fraser but it made no difference. You can’t win if you don’t score and the Bruins as presently constituted most definitely do not. Maybe they can convince Jarome Iginla to switch sides when he arrives with his new team Monday afternoon.
2. It’s early but the Johnny Boychuk trade is killing them
Boychuk had two assists for the Islanders on Saturday night after scoring a goal and dishing two more helpers in their season-opening win on Friday. That’s five points, which is four more than the Bruins have as a team in their last two games. With 79 games still remaining, it’s too soon to say that the Bs are incapable of recovering from this rough start or that the move to send Boychuk away will haunt them for the rest of the year. And it’s not like Boychuk, who’s never posted more than 23 points in a season, is the answer to the team’s issues offensively. But the Bruins have looked rather lifeless so far and one can only wonder how much losing such a key component so close to the start of the season has to do with it.
3. What’s up with the penalty kill?
Three of the six goals the Bruins have allowed in their two losses have come with the opponent on the power play. That’s very unusual for this team, which is routinely among the best penalty killing groups in the NHL. Here’s another area in which Boychuk’s absence could be having a negative effect although even shorthanded mainstays like Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara haven’t done much to distinguish themselves to this point.
At the end of the day, the Bruins are flailing right now in pretty much all facets of the game. Luckily for them, it’s plenty early and they have plenty of time to fix their problems.