The Boston Bruins have always prided themselves on being a great defensive team. At the beginning of the season the Bruins’ defensive core was criticized as being weak and suspect. They had traded budding star Dougie Hamilton to Calgary for draft picks, Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were both battling injuries, and they were forced to rely on young, unproven defensemen.
Coming into Tuesday night’s bought with the San Jose Sharks, this ragtag defensive unit, now complete with an aging Chara and Seidenberg back from his back surgery, has been up and down all season. Posting an 8-7-1 record in 16 games, the Bruins have allowed 49 goals, many of them coming on defensive zone meltdowns and give-a-ways. Unfortunately, defensive zone mistakes would ultimately lead to San Jose beating Boston by a score of
San Jose got off to an early start, just 42 seconds in when Joe Pavelski beat Tuukka Rask with a wrist shot. Although they trailed 2-1 and 3-2 at points of the second period, San Jose was clearly the better team. They out skated and out worked a very sluggish Bruins team, which has become their m.o. at home as of late.
“Yeah, I think we all know this isn’t good enough,” said Bruins’ coach Claude Julien when asked if it was disappointing to see the defensive zone mistakes and penalties. “We all know that we need to be better. I think we have to take the responsibility of having to be better. There’s no excuse for tonight. We didn’t play well enough, can’t come out in the third and decide to play a little bit better. This playing once in a while in games is just not gonna cut it in this league. We have to deal with certain things and I plan on dealing with internally, but certainly not gonna start elaborating here.”
The second period was the demise for the Bruins, allowing three goals in a span of four minutes. The Bruins have been horrible at home this season, posting a 2-6-1 and allowing 4 or more goals in 6 of the 9 home games.
“Sloppy tonight, sloppy. Really that’s the only word I can find right now,” added Julien. “Mistakes that, again, guys should know better. So is it focus? Is it trying to do too much? I think we really need to prepare ourselves better for games and know what we have to do in our defensive zone. We’ve been much better than that in the past. I don’t buy that the new players are the reason that it’s not happening. Everybody knows what needs to be done, they can tell you exactly what went wrong without you saying anything. If they know then they should know when they’re playing on the ice as well.”