BOSTON -- Forget the extra video sessions. Forget about the level of frustration. Forget about the fact that the Boston Bruins are in last place in the Eastern Conference with only 10 games in the books this season.
The defending Stanley Cup champions only want to focus on Tuesday’s game.
Bruins coach Claude Julien decided to hold an optional skate this morning at TD Garden as the team prepares to host the red-hot Ottawa Senators tonight at 7:05. Only defenseman Steven Kampfer, forward Benoit Pouliot and goaltender Tuukka Rask were on the ice.
Part of the Bruins’ problem this season has been the defensive breakdowns. Goaltender Tim Thomas has a 2.14 goals-against average and a .929 save percentage in the eight games he’s played, while Rask is 0-3 with a 2.71 and a .906.
Opponents are averaging nearly 30 shots per game against the Bruins and the majority of those quality-scoring chances are coming from the slot area.
“At the end of the day it’s a team game and we’re only as good as our forwards helping us out,” defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. “I know there have been a lot of breakdowns down low and a lot of chances out of the slot, which we usually don’t give up. And we haven’t really helped out on the offense. It’s a team game and we all have to work harder to be better all over the ice.”
How do you fix it?
“I think it’s mental,” added Seidenberg. “We know what to do, we just don’t do it. We’re supposed to be there but we’re not. It’s pretty simple. It’s all mental and if you’re weak or not focused mentally you break down and you make mistakes and lose games.”
Julien is obviously fed up with the team’s breakdowns in its own end and would like those miscues fixed.
“I’m so tired and I don’t know why he keep hoping on everything,” Julien said when asked why those breakdowns are happening. “It’s breakdowns everywhere. Sunday we looked at our whole game and it’s a lot of everything and answering that question I would be repeating myself.”
The puck drop can’t come fast enough for the Bruins and a win against the surging Senators could erase the tense feelings in Boston. And there’s only one way to make that happen.
“Stop thinking and work as hard as you can,” Seidenberg said.