Seven games into December, the Boston Bruins have only one win this month. They’ve had a few close calls here and there – three straight one-goal games and a pair of shootout losses – but only the one victory.
On Tuesday, they fell to the Nashville Predators by a final score of 3-2 in a game decided by the skills competition. Meanwhile, with their record-breaking shootout win over Washington, the Florida Panthers actually moved ahead of the Bruins in the Eastern Conference standings.
Once a Stanley Cup champion and contender, it appears that with the halfway mark of the season approaching, the Bruins might be in a fight just to make the playoffs in the spring.
“Things aren’t coming easy for us – have to find a way to get some wins here. You look at the standings, we’re behind the eight ball,” said Bruins forward Milan Lucic, as per the club’s Twitter account.
He added: “Hasn’t been an easy year at all and we need to find ways to grind it out, start getting wins (and) start feeling good about ourselves.”
The Boston Bruins have played 30 games and lost 13 of them outright.
In 2013-14, they only lost 19 games outright all season.
At their current pace, they’d lose 35 in 2014-15, their most since 2006-07, which was the last time they missed the playoffs.
So, you know…it’s probably time to pick it up a bit.
“We’ve got to step up.” said coach Claude Julien, per CSN New England. “That’s what you’ve got to do in that situation. That’s what all teams have to do in that situation. There’s no real mystery or surprise there. Nobody is going to do it for us. Nobody really cares whether we win or lose, except for ourselves. So it’s up to us to battle our way out of it.”
It won’t be easy. The B’s kick off a three-games-in-four-nights road trip tonight in Nashville, followed by stops in Minnesota tomorrow and Winnipeg Friday.
All three of those teams have better records than Boston.
“It’s not going to be easy at all,” said winger Milan Lucic. “We need to embrace this road trip, and look at it as a huge challenge. We have five games before the Christmas break, and where do we want to be as a team headed into that break? It starts [Tuesday] on this road trip with three teams that are in that playoff picture in the Western Conference.”
The Ottawa Senators battled back from two one-goal deficits to top the Boston Bruins 3-2 in a shootout Saturday afternoon.
Bobby Ryan, who had a highlight-reel goal against the L.A. Kings on Thursday, had another beauty for the shootout winner.
Ottawa has now won two of three while Boston has lost two in a row and five of six.
Craig Cunningham opened the scoring for the Bruins, shorthanded, with his first career NHL goal.
After Mika Zibanejad tied it at 1-1 early in the second, Loui Eriksson gave Boston a 2-1 lead.
David Legwand knotted it at 2-2 early in the third, with a power play marker, setting up overtime.
The Boston Bruins got a scare late in the third period as Patrice Bergeron took a slash from Mike Hoffman in the hand and and left the game momentarily, but he returned for overtime.
Sens veteran defenseman Chris Phillips was a healthy scratch.
Robin Lehner made 29 saves to improve to 6-4-1 on the season while Tuukka Rask stopped 29 shots in the loss.
Boston Bruins forward Craig Cunningham scored his first NHL goal Saturday afternoon against the Ottawa Senators.
The goal, which came shorthanded, opened the scoring for the Bruins.
The 24-year-old is playing in his seventh career NHL game.
Originally Boston’s fourth-round pick (97th overall) in 2010, Cunningham is playing his fifth game of the season today.
According to Czech news outlet Hokej.cz, Bruins rookie David Pastrnak will be loaned out to the Czech team for the upcoming World Junior tournament in Toronto and Montreal.
Here’s a (rough) Google translation of what Czech head coach Miroslav Prerost said about the loan:
“It is so. At three o’clock in the morning I received from management Bruins e–mail, in which we have everything confirmed.
“We are obviously pleased David is a very important player for us.”
According to Hockej.cz, Pastrnak will join the club following AHL Providence’s game in Manchester on Dec. 20. The World Junior tourney starts on the 26th with the Czechs opening against Sweden, the reigning silver medalists.
Pastrnak, 18, is a huge get. The 25th overall pick at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, he wowed the B’s with his play in the preseason and has been a dynamic scorer at the AHL level, sitting second among all Providence skaters with 20 points through 19 games.
Pastrnak’s solid play in the American League also earned him a five-game cameo for Boston, in which he scored his first-ever NHL point.