Following an utterly disgusting performance against the 10th seeded Tampa Bay Lightning (Stamkos-less, might I add), the Boston Bruins have now dropped 4 straight games. As a result of this stretch, the Bruins have dropped from perennial division winner, to the 2nd Wild Card slot, with the New York Islanders quickly gaining on them.
It really shouldn't be much of a surprise to any of the Bruins faithful. In fact, this is starting to become the trend for the Boston Bruins as they hit the final home stretch. They just flat out don't know how to play big games anymore. It's like the guys who remain from that 2013 comeback vs. the Leafs in Game 7 (Bergeron, Marchand, Krejci, Chara, and specifically RASK) have all just forgotten how to win when it matters most.
As we search for who to point the finger at, I've got a few players to keep in mind when you get pissed at this team:
1. Tuukka Rask
"That goal is not on Rask," "He'd be better with a better defense," blah blah blah. I've been a HUGE defender of Tuukka Rask over the past few seasons. I even tried defending him not playing in the must-win season-finale against the Ottawa Senators last year, a 6-1 defeat that knocked the Bruins out of playoff contention for a second straight season. However, I think it's about time to start pointing the finger at Rask first and foremost. I understand that not all goals are on him, in his past 4 games, Rask has allowed 16 goals. It's just unacceptable, and it's time to get pissed at him.
2. Brad Marchand
Yes, the Hart Trophy hopeful isn't immune to criticism. I'm well aware that he was a huge factor in the Bruins going on their run under Bruce Cassidy to as high as 2nd in the Atlantic. But what I saw Thursday night out of Brad Marchand was juvenile and absolutely unacceptable. What I am referring to is him slamming the bench door and breaking two sticks over the boards. That's something I wouldn't expect Riley Nash to do, let alone a guy who is supposed to be an emotional leader for this team. I understand these games are getting intense, but you HAVE to keep your composure. Marchand played last night like he would back in 2014, not a Hart Trophy candidate.
3. Frank Vatrano
I love Frankie V and believe he's a gem that could be a 30-40 goal scorer for the Bruins in the near future. But he's just been really bad of late. He's forcing the puck into tight spaces, taking every shot that's available, and not shooting with a purpose anymore. What makes Vatrano so lethal is that he's got tremendous speed and skill, but he's limiting his own skills by forcing the puck 24/7. It's getting concerning, and quite frankly, it's one of the more underrated aspects of this Bruins skid.