Despite their recent struggles, the Bruins entered Tuesday night’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes with control of their own fate. If they won all three of the remaining games, they make the playoffs.
Of course, it is not that simple to win games whenever you choose in this league. It takes something called effort. If you put together a complete 60-minute effort each night, the wins will come. However, for some reason, this Bruins team struggles to find the motivation to move their feet and play their game from the drop of the puck, and it is one of the most significant reasons they have plummeted from first place to out of the playoff structure over the past month.
An essentially do-or-die game against a non-playoff team at home should provide enough motivation to play your best game of the season, but not for this team. They were practically half asleep for the majority of the first two periods on Tuesday, and entered the final frame down 1-0 (at least they weren’t down 6-0, am I right). They FINALLY showed up in the third and dominated the period, tying the game, but not finding the go-ahead goal. It was too little too late, as they lost in the shootout. We have heard this same story over and over again all season.
Sure, this group of guys may not be the most talented team we’ve had, but all we want to see out of them is effort. Even if they don’t make the playoffs, if they left it all out there every night and clearly displayed a will to win, then they would have done their duty.
We are used to winning in this city, but even if our teams are not at the top of the standings, we expect them to still show some pride. Boston loves to rally around guys who play with their heart on their sleeve (see: Shawn Thornton/Gregory Campbell), the guys who have that burning desire to work their asses off night in and night out.
I am not saying (at all) that this team’s woes occurred because they don’t have Thornton and Campbell on the team, but the current lineup needed to find that burning desire, and instead, it has fallen flat on its face.
Now, the Bruins’ fate lies in the hands of the Detroit Red Wings. Even if the B’s beat the Wings on Thursday, the Wings will still clinch a playoff berth with wins in their other two games. They face Philly tomorrow. As painful as it is to say this: Go Flyers.