SUNRISE, FL. – The Bruins have been “very mediocre” in the words of Claude Julien, and they’re determined to get back to their brand of hockey.
Boston's struggles have been masked by its winning ways over the last few weeks, but its problems all came to a head when the B’s collapsed in the third period Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Now the Bruins face the Panthers, a legitimate playoff team with a grudge.
Why the grudge? Hockey teams usually take it personally when they get gut bludgeoned by an 8-0 score two days before Christmas like the Bruins pounded the Panthers at TD Garden, and now Florida entertains a Boston team attempting to find their footing. The Bruins will also be without Brad Marchand (suspension) and Rich Peverley (personal matter) at the BankAtlantic Center, and could be in for a tough night if they’re not ready to play.
“We’re falling short in certain areas," Zdeno Chara said. "We lost more battles than in previous games, and need to pay more attention to details. We knew that [Carolina] wasn’t our best game and we need to bounce back. We have a few games before the [All-Star] break and we want to go out with some wins. We know they’re really good at home. They have a very hard style. We have to be ready to do our thing, work extremely hard and not take anything fore granted.
“We played really well in the last game and [Florida] didn’t have a great night. I’m sure they’re going to be way better tonight.”
The B’s coach was a little more succinct about what he didn’t see against the Hurricanes, and what he wants to see against the Panthers on Monday night.
“We need to be sharper in all areas. Our battle level has to be better. Our passing and willingness to take pucks to the net need improvement,” said Julien. “Basically our whole game has slipped. We’re not to the point of being a bad team, but it’s slipped to us being a very mediocre team right now. We need to bring it back to the level that’s expected of our group.”
Strong words from the B’s coach that will only get stronger if they’re not followed up by a more typical effort from the Bruins in Florida on Monday night.