For numerous reasons, the NHL's trade deadline can't come fast enough for the Boston Bruins.
There seems to be a sense of nervousness with the Bruins, and even coach Claude Julien admitted recently he could feel a tense environment with the team. It didn't help when star-studded forward Jarome Iginla, this year's biggest trade chip, decided to waive his no-movement clause and join the Pittsburgh Penguins instead of the Bruins.
Before April 3, Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli needs to make additions to this current roster. The Bruins need a spark. They can't continue to play like they did on Saturday, losing to a struggling Philadelphia Flyers team, 3-1 at Wells Fargo Center.
The Bruins entered the game with a 9-1-1 record in the last 11 games versus the Flyers, but Boston could not generate any sustained offense against Philadelphia and were sluggish for the first 40 minutes. The Bruins played better in the third period but it was too late.
"Another one of those nights where you're not able to sustain anything," coach Claude Julien said. "Whether we had a better start even though we had fallen behind 1-0, I thought we were moving the puck quick and we had some jump. But we allow a power play goal and fall behind."
The Bruins lacked desire and failed to gain control of the Northeast Division. With the loss, Boston's fifth in the last seven games, the Bruins sit in second place with 46 points. The Montreal Canadiens have 47 points and host the New York Rangers tonight at Bell Centre.
The Bruins missed an early opportunity when they couldn't convert on their first power play of the game, less than a minute in against the Flyers.
Philadelphia, however, has the best power play in the league and proved it again when the Flyers took a 1-0 lead at 15:19 as Mike Knuble provided his fourth goal of the season. It was the fifth consecutive power-play goal for Philadelphia. Overall, the Flyers have capitalized on 32 of 129 chances while on the man-advantage.
Philadelphia gained a two-goal lead when the Flyers' Matt Read scored at 3:18 of the second period. The Bruins did not respond in any aspect of the game for the rest of the period.
Whatever Julien said to his players during the second intermission worked because the Bruins showed a little bit of life at the start of the third. Nathan Horton cut Boston's deficit to one goal when he pumped in a rebound at the five-minute mark. That's all the Bruins could muster and Philadelphia added an empty-net goal with 58.4 seconds remaining in regulation for a 3-1 final.
"Yeah, we had our chances," Horton said. "I think we were working hard but just couldn't buy a goal and maybe [we were] gripping our sticks a little too much. Once they got the lead they were playing back. Like I said, we had our chances, though."
The Bruins need to find their identity and soon.
"You get some spurts where you're seeing some good things but then the next line going up can't follow up," Julien said. "So we are not able to sustain much right now. The biggest challenge is every game we have one line that's scoring and the other three don't do a thing. Then it's a different line another game and then the other three don't do it. We can't win hockey games with just relying on one line per night producing for us.
"It's not always the same line it's a different line. There's definitely some catching up to do. I thought the second period was probably the most disorganized or erratic from our end of it. Guys fanning on one timers, bobbling pucks, and just guys squeezing their sticks. We have to relax a little bit but we also have to wake up and start playing Bruins hockey because that's not what we are playing right now."
BOYCHUK BACK: After missing three games with a foot injury, Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk was back in the lineup. He was hit on the foot by a puck during practice on March 25 in Ottawa and was placed on injury reserve last Wednesday. He practiced on Friday and showed no ill effects.
"I feel pretty good," he told NESN's Naoko Funayama during the first intermission.
As a result of Boychuk's return, fellow defenseman Matt Bartkowski was a healthy scratch.
KRUG ASSIGNED: On Friday, the Bruins assigned defenseman Torey Krug to Providence of the AHL. The 21-year-old prospect was recalled Wednesday afternoon after the Bruins thought they had a trade in place for Iginla and scratched Bartkowski. Krug logged a total of 15:47 of ice time and registered an assist against the Montreal Canadiens. It was his third NHL game since the Bruins signed him a year ago after he finished his collegiate career at Michigan State University.
UP NEXT: It's a quick turnaround for the Bruins. They leave Philly and travel to Buffalo where the Sabres will host Boston at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night.