The Bruins once again got a chance to test themselves against a playoff team on Friday, and they once again came up short, falling 5-2 to the New York Rangers.
The difference between the Bruins’ play against non-playoff teams this season and their play against the top teams in the NHL is hard to ignore.
After Friday’s loss, Boston is now 9-1-0 against teams not in playoff position as of Friday afternoon, but just 1-6-0 against teams that are currently in a playoff spot.
Coach Bruce Cassidy lamented his team once again not playing “winning hockey” in the third period in particular, and said the Bruins “kind of pissed it away, to be honest with you.”
Star winger Brad Marchand struck a more optimistic tone, though, and explained why he’s not worried about the Bruins’ lack of wins against playoff teams.
“I’m not concerned, at all,” Marchand said. “It’s early in the year. We have a lot of new faces in our group. It’s a different year for us, a lot different than what we’ve had for a long time. We have to build something again, whereas before we had such little turnover that whoever came in just kind of fit into the group and everything was already established.
“Now with the amount of new guys that we have, we have to… it’s hard coming into a new team and learning new systems and building that chemistry again, and that’s what we have to do. The D have to build their chemistry with the goalie, all the forwards have to build their chemistry with their line, and then again with the defensemen, breaking out plays. There’s a lot of stuff we need to work on.
“I didn’t think we expected to come in and dominate from the start of the year. We knew it would be a process to get our game to where it needs to be, but we’re not concerned about game, whatever it is, 17, 18. We want to play our best down the stretch, and that’s what we’re going to build for. It’s like building a house. You have to build the foundation, and that’s what we need to work on and go from there.”
After Friday’s loss, the Bruins are now tied for eighth in the Eastern Conference on points percentage. Despite where they sit in the standings, Marchand said he still sees the potential for the Bruins to be a great team and go toe-to-toe with anyone in front of them.
“If we do [clean up the little things] and stop shooting ourselves in the foot, we’re going to be a hell of a team,” Marchand said. “It’s just getting on the same page all the time and trusting that no matter what the score is, each guy’s going to do their job and we’re not going to have those little lapses. That’s the difference between a good team and a great team, is those little breakdowns. We just have to minimize them.”