The Boston Bruins started the season in dominant fashion.
They looked as if they might challenge the Chicago Blackhawks for league superiority.
However, the Bruins have been troubled by a lack of clutch goals, an inability to hold third-period leads and an abysmal power play.
The latter factor has dogged the Bruins for the last three seasons. They managed to win the Stanley Cup in 2010-11 even with a substandard power play, but the other problems are new ones.
Head coach Claude Julien is not used to having a team that can't protect a late lead. The Bruins have been troubled by giveaways and an inability to move the puck efficiently out of the defensive zone.
The Bruins have not gotten the production they usually get from their forwards. Milan Lucic and Rich Peverley have not produced at their expected levels.
The biggest issue is the absence of Patrice Bergeron, who suffered the fourth concussion of his career on March 2 against the Ottawa Senators. While general manager Peter Chiarelli said that Bergeron is improving (via the team's official website), there is no timetable for his return to the lineup.
The Bruins are not likely to slip below fourth place and they could still make a run at first (unlikely) or second (possible) in the Eastern Conference.
They need to go on a winning streak in the final 10 games of the season to go into the playoffs with a full head of steam.