I wrote an article a couple of months ago asking where the Boston Bruins offense had disappeared too. We were only about a month into the season when I wrote it and I figured the offense would have come around by now. Well I was dead wrong.
Last night the Bruins lost to the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 in a shootout to extend their losing streak to seven games. This losing streak started after the Bruins beat the San Jose Sharks on the road, one of the best teams in the NHL without their top three centers.
The loss was the 30th time this year that the Bruins have put up just two goals or less. In those 30 games they have managed to win six games but still the offense has been, at the least to say, pitiful. They have played 53 games and scored two or less goals in more than half of them.
Somehow the Bruins are still only a point out of the playoffs and the team they are trailing, the Canadiens, have played three more games than the Bruins. The race in the Eastern Conference is so tight that if the Bruins win Tuesday night against the Capitals they have a chance at waking up Wednesday in sixth place.
The Bruins find themselves sitting with a record of 23-21-9. They only have this record because of the way the defense has played all year although they have had their struggles as well.
So far this year the Bruins find themselves ranked dead last in goals for averaging just 2.34 goals per game. The next closest team is the Canadiens with a 2.48 goals per game.
How the Bruins offense has fallen off so far in just one year is mindboggling. Last year the Bruins had one of the best offenses. They ranked second in goals with 3.29 goals per game, just behind the Detroit Red Wings.
When trying to find a reason for the offensive struggles of the Bruins this year there are a few things to look at.
One that most fans will point out is the loss of Phil Kessel. Kessel who was traded in the offseason to the Toronto Maple Leafs led the Bruins in scoring last year with 36 goals. He had the ability to go from one blue line to the other and was the Bruins best scoring threat this year. The Bruins leading goal scorer this year is Marco Sturm with just 16 goals.
Clearly the Bruins don't have that key goal scoring threat they need. They don't have a guy that the opposing team is going to have to keep an eye on all game long and it has hurt them all year long.
Another key that has stood out is the struggles of certain players that had amazing years last year and have just looked completely different this year. Michael Ryder and David Krejci stand out in particular.
Ryder who seemed to have revived his career, which had looked somewhat dead in Montreal, had 27 goals last year finishing just second on the Bruins to Phil Kessel. This year he has just 12 goals and has struggled all year long. I can't come up with a reason for his struggles as he certainly hasn't changed his shot or lost anybody that helped him score all his goals last year.
David Krejci has just nine goals this year although he has begun to play better over the past week. He had 22 goals last year and led the league in plus/minus with a plus 37. Krejci's struggles could be because of the offseason surgery he had and that he may have come back too soon. The Bruins need both these guys to start to turn it up if they want to have a chance at making the playoffs.
The Bruins don't look like they are going to turn the offense around any time soon though. In their past six losses they have yet to score more than two goals and have scored just one goal in four of those games.
They have seven games left until the Olympic break. This might be just what the Bruins needed. The break will give them a couple of weeks to rest and when they get back they will have their final chance to show that they weren't just a fluke last year.