The 2015-2016 Boston Bruins are trying extremely hard to upstage the 2014-2015 Boston Bruins. Last year the Bruins saw themselves in control of their own destiny only to fold like a cheap suit and miss the playoffs entirely. This year's version of the Bruins are currently Flyers fans, hoping that they beat the Detroit Red Wings tonight and allow the Bruins to control their own destiny with their remaining two games.
Last night, the Bruins blew a must-win game by failing to score against a Carolina Hurricanes team that has already planned their vacations. (I know they scored one goal but it was because the Hurricanes fell asleep during a line change and Eriksson happened to be standing right there). Other than the gift that the Bruins got on that breakaway goal, they could not generate any offense and lost in a shootout, while relying on Torey Krug to try and pocket a goal instead of Brad Marchand, you know, their leading goal scorer. While getting one point is certainly better than none, the Bruins needed two. They have seen their hopes go from competing for the Division title to competing for the eight spot in the East.
Over the last ten games, the Bruins have gone 2-7-1 and seen every team in the Eastern Conference jump over them into playoff position. Over those last ten games, the Bruins have scored a total of 21 goals while they have given up 33. Their defense has continued to be miserable and their scoring has all but dried up. They lost a game to the New Jersey Devils in which they out shot the Devils 40-15. This is usually the point in the season where teams want to be waking up from their mid-season lull and stepping on the gas as they rush to the playoffs, but the Bruins seem content to again root for other teams to lose and to back their way into the playoffs. That strategy did not work last season, and it will certainly not work this year.
This season has been frustrating for the Bruins. They entered the year having traded away Milan Lucic and Dougie Hamilton and replaced them with Matt Beleskey, Jimmy Hayes, a bunch of young kids now in Providence. Most people did not think they would even be in the playoff hunt for most of the year and nobody believed they would have a chance come the end of the season to still make some noise.
However, this season has exposed some major weaknesses on the team. The defense is a mess, Chara and company have not played a consistent stretch of hockey all year and the offense relies too much on the top line and not enough on the highest paid player, looking at you Krejci, to produce like he should be. It does not matter to me who your wingers are, if you are making $7.25 million a year, you should be producing all season long. Waiting to turn it up in the playoffs does not justify your salary if you never make it to the playoffs to begin with.
Now with the season coming to a close, it looks like Claude Julien is back to his old tricks, calling up Max Talbot to play against Detroit, like he did today, and putting Chris "I have not played all season" Kelly on the third line during practice. When the Bruins miss the playoffs because they have no heart, expect Claude to be the first one out the door, followed by many members of this current team.
As the fans at last nights game chanted, "We want the playoffs," it begs one question...Do the Bruins?