By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On X (Formerly Twitter) @adbblue
The Boston Bruins have been struggling recently, losing three consecutive games in regulation. It was the first time since the 2011-12 season that they allowed at least five goals in three straight games.
There have been all sorts of issues with their play as of late. They haven’t been defending well at all, and the goaltending has taken a bit of a step back. Something that has gone a bit under the radar is a lack of production from their top players.
In the team’s last five games before Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, Brad Marchand had only one assist for one point and was a combined -6. It was one of the worst stretches of the left winger’s career. The lack of point production is one thing, but being a combined -6 without having a game being a plus is very uncharacteristic of Marchand. He is widely regarded as one of the better defensive forwards in the league.
Charlie McAvoy has struggled recently as well. McAvoy’s point production has also been lackluster, having just two assists for two points in the five games prior to Thursday. But the most surprising thing is he was a combined -8 and had been a minus player in all five games. Opponents have also been targeting the Bruins’ top defenseman, and he’s taken some pretty big hits. It’s clear he has been getting frustrated.
Jake DeBrusk has taken a step back point production-wise in a contract year. The details of his game have still been solid. Puck retrieval and positioning haven’t been a problem, but his lack of production has been inconsistent. He scored two goals for two points in the five games prior to Thursday, but he was a combined -3. Furthermore, the Bruins winger also wasn’t a plus player in any of those games.
David Pastrnak did have two goals and two assists in the team’s five games before Thursday. But for a guy who is well more than a point-per-game player, that’s not on par with what we’re used to. Opponents have also targeted the Bruins sniper, and it’s evident he’s been frustrated. He has also passed up a few really good shooting opportunities, which he seldom does.
After a really hot start to the season, Pavel Zacha has cooled off. In the five games previous to Thursday, he had a goal and two assists for three points. The top center was a combined -7 and was not a plus player in those five games.
The Black and Gold have gotten secondary scoring production, but it clearly hasn’t been enough. To be a successful team in the NHL, you need your best players to be productive. Boston hasn’t gotten that enough lately, which is a big part of their recent skid.
It’s one thing not to be putting points on the score sheet, but it’s even worse when there’s a lack of defending as well. All these players can certainly play better, and surely they’ll recognize that. They’re far too talented and accountable not to.