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BOSTON (CBS) – I’m not Irish and don’t believe in leprechauns, but the Boston Bruins had better come up with a four-leaf clover, a horseshoe, or rabbit’s foot come Saturday afternoon when they face the red-hot Philadelphia Flyers.
Because at this rate, not only could the Bruins fall to seventh or eighth place in the Eastern Conference, they could be struggling for their playoff life.
Friday night, the Ottawa Senators host the Montreal Canadiens, a game Ottawa should win. And should that happen, the Sens would be in first place in the Northeast Division and own the No. 2 seed in the East, pushing your Bruins all the way down to the bottom of the playoff picture. Holy crap! Did anyone see that coming? It would be the first time Ottawa is atop the division since March of 2011.
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Thursday night’s embarrassing loss to the Florida Panthers (recurring nightmare theme here) gave the Bruins their first four-game losing streak of the year. More importantly, though it was the way they have lost these games — showing no signs of the pride in which the “Spoked B” is supposed to represent.
Claude Julien said it best: “A whole team collapse.” Of course he was speaking of Thursday night’s game, but that could be said for the entire month of March, as the B’s have lost six of the nine games and have been outscored 27-13 in those six losses (12-3 in Florida). They’ve allowed three or more goals in four straight games and eight of their last nine.
This Boston team resembles nothing like its November/December counterpart. Right now they are a tired, hurt, confused troupe with what seems like no bottom to the pit they have gotten themselves in.
But they also do not have time to feel sorry for themselves. We all remember when they had all those home games and multiple days off at the beginning of the year. Now they don’t. They have played every other day and back-to-back games on the weekend since Feb. 28.
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What has happened you ask? Well it seems to have all started way back on Jan. 7, the “Rematch” of the Stanley Cup Final (silly, of course, to call it a rematch because it really isn’t, but … ). In that game, the Bruins began taking ill-advised penalties and the Vancouver Canucks made them pay, scoring all four goals on the power play in their 4-3 win. Oh, by the way, it was an afternoon game, in which they are a disgraceful 4-7-2. Brad Marchand received a five-game suspension for his clipping penalty on Sami Salo that game as well.
Then came the Stanley Cup championship White House celebration! After all that hoopla, the Bruins began to lose to teams that were not in the playoff picture — teams that they are supposed to beat, such as the Carolina Hurricanes, who will not make the playoffs. However, the Bruins managed to lose the season series to the ‘Canes/Whalers for the first time in that franchises’ history.
And how about these numbers? In 35 games from October through December, the Bruins allowed 67 goals. In the 35 games that have since followed, the B’s have allowed 107 goals, a 63 percent increase.
What’s to blame for the 40-goal jump? Shabby goaltending, shoddy defense and way too many god-awful turnovers.
Of course, injuries play a part in this collapse, but even with injuries there is no reason to just go out for an evening skate or go through the motions. That’s unacceptable.
Who would have thought that a game between the Habs and Canada’s capital city team would have some Bruins fans (definitely not me) rooting for the Canadiens on Friday?
It’s St. Patrick’s Day on Saturday, with the Broad Street Bullies coming to Boston. The game is once again in the afternoon, and to paraphrase Tom Brady, the crowd needs to get lubed up early.
Let’s just hope this early wake up call brings the Irish out of these Bruins. Otherwise, this long season down to 12 games could get very short, very quickly!