WILMINGTON, MA (CBS) – At 3-5, the defending Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins are still looking for some consistency.

They know they are not far off, but need to make that next step to get back to playing winning hockey.

“Nobody’s hitting the panic button yet, but we haven’t won enough games so everyone has to bring a little bit more to get to that next level and start being in the W column  instead of the L’s,” forward Shawn Thornton said at Monday’s skate.

“I don’t think we were as prepared as we needed to be to play against certain teams,” forward Brad Marchand said of the B’s early season struggles. “Also, everyone is fired up to play us now. We need to do a better job. When it comes to games we need to be a little better focused.”

The team had the day off on Sunday, and now returns to practice with three days to regain that focus. The team will use the time to clean up the basics, with head coach Claude Julien setting up stations on the Ristuccia ice to work on passing and shooting on Monday.

Right now, Boston ranks 21st in the NHL in scoring with 18 goals in eight games.

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“We’re trying to improve our scoring and getting a little bit better in those areas that we practiced today is something that’s important for us. It’s not a bad thing,” said Julien.

“I don’t think we’re that far off, we just need to clean up a couple of areas that will let us score a little bit more and at the other end too,” said Julein. “I think defensively we could be a little better, a little stingier. If we could take care of both ends a little better, I think it will balance things out and we’ll turn those loses into wins.”

“I think it’s great for us right now,” Marchand said of the break. “We have time to rest up, kind of regroup and refocus and work on some things we have to do to be better.”

“’Rest is a weapon’ they say, right?” asked Thornton. “Claude’s always been really good about managing our time with days off and such. Yesterday, it was nice not to do anything and get my head away from it. You could tell everyone was pretty pissed after the game. it was probably good to get away, review focus and come back today refreshed.”

While the B’s hope to restore their scoring touch, they would also like to regain their identity as a tough-as-nails team that is going to scratch and claw until the end. They have shown that in spurts this season, but have yet to put it all together and keep it going.

“We still want to have the same identity; be a tough team to play against,” said Marchand. “We haven’t been able to put a full 60-minute effort like that on the table yet, but we’re working towards it.”

All last season, it seemed like the Bruins would be handed a task with their backs against the wall, and would overcame it. Now in a new season, they need to get that going again. It isn’t something that just carries over.

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“We’re in a different spot, it’s how we react to it is going to be the key,” Thomas said of their early slump, compared to last season’s 6-2 start. “All last year, no matter what type of adversity was thrown our way we reacted well. That’s part of what made up our identity as a team when the playoffs came around. We have to try to build that same thing this year. It’s not just there because you had it last year; you have to build it again.”

“We do have to do a better job at that,” said Marchand of handling adversity. “Sometimes it can take a bigger toll on some guys. You have to make sure you regroup and refocus. You don’t let that get you down. Its early on in the year, we have to learn to do it now. It’s only going to get tougher as the year goes on.”

Practice Notes: Defenseman Adam McQuaid practice again and is hoping to see some time on the ice come Thursday… Forward Jordan Caron was back with the team, after being sent to Providence on Saturday only to be recalled Monday morning. Caron had been a healthy scratch the last two games for Boston, but registered an assist Sunday for Providence.

98.5 The Sports Hub is the only place to hear every game of the Stanley Cup Champion Boston Bruins 2011-12 NHL season with Dave Goucher and Bob Beers.


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