Bruins' offense struggling out of the gate
|Milan Lucic and David Krejci need to find their scoring touch quickly. Photo: Steve Babineau/Getty Images|
The Bruins have started the season with a disappointing 1-3-0 record. After a win in their opening game, Boston has lost three in a row with the most recent being to Colorado in the last second of regulation time. The questions about Peter Chiarelli's recent transactions are beginning to mount and there is already concern among the black and gold faithful.
One of the main reasons for the slow start is the lack of offense. Through four games the Bruins are averaging one goal per game. That is not going to get it done in the NHL, even with Tuukka Rask between the pipes. Boston has not received scoring contributions from any of their young rookies and every game seems to have new players on the bottom line. Perhaps the recent signing of Simon Gagne will breathe some life into the lackluster fourth pairing.
The top two lines are creating scoring chances, but not finishing. This is something the Bruins struggled with against Montreal in least year's Eastern Conference semi-finals and it came back to haunt them. They seem to have carried that play into this year's regular season and the results are the same.
Milan Lucic is clearly still struggling with his wrist, something I spoke here about potentially happening during training camp. Lucic, along with his usual line-mate, David Krejci, are not yet playing to their full potential and Jarome Iginla's absence on that top grouping is very apparent at this point.
The black and gold also like to use their defensemen to generate puck movement and offensive production. So far, only Adam McQuaid has been able to get on the scoring sheet. The other d-men need to pick it up, especially on the power play where Boston is only 2 for 13 (15%). This number looks even worse when former blue-liner, Johnny Boychuk, is scoring frequently (five points in two games) with his new team, the New York Islanders.
This is not the start anyone expected or wanted in the hub of hockey. The fourth line has been a disaster and Gregory Campbell is still injured. Many are now looking at GM Peter Chiarelli and wondering what his plan is with the cap space he created by trading Boychuk. A top six, or at least, a top nine forward is rumored to be highly desired by Chiarelli.
For now, the offense needs to finish better and get more contributions from their top lines. Krejci and Lucic still need time, but the overall scoring will improve once they find their scoring touches. However, the Bruins' position in the Atlantic division is alarming and they would be wise to turn things around quickly. Making up slow starts in the NHL is a difficult task for any team, especially one with Stanley Cup aspirations.
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