The Bruins have some bad habits, and it’s time to fix them

Bruins center Colby Cave watches as Panthers goalies Roberto Luongo makes one of his 33 saves.
Bruins center Colby Cave watches as Panthers goalies Roberto Luongo makes one of his 33 saves.(Joel Auerbach/AP)

SUNRISE, Fla. — In a game in which many of the Bruins’ poor tendencies were on display, coach Bruce Cassidy pointed out another: “Going offside on certain rushes is becoming a bad habit of ours,” he said after Tuesday night’s 5-0 loss at Florida. “Is that because the puck’s not going deep, or we just don’t have the discipline?”

It is something to address Wednesday, when the Bruins will try to sort out their problems in time for Thursday’s game in Tampa. Some of that video, meeting, and practice time will no doubt be used to take a look under the hood of the power play.


The Bruins are in an offensive funk unlike any this season, with 15 goals in their last nine games. The man-advantage, despite missing one of its key pieces in Patrice Bergeron for nearly all that stretch, has been the most consistent force.

Four of the last nine goals the Bruins have scored, in a stretch of five games, have come on the man-up. When it doesn’t click, things are ugly.

“It does,” Cassidy said, when asked if such a situation gets mentally taxing. “There is a concern. But that’s the hand we’re dealt, so that’s what we have to do and say with it. So you get a game like tonight, you get behind, and a bit of your energy’s gone knowing, ‘Geez, we have a tough time scoring. How are we going to get three to win this thing?’

“That can’t creep in, but I’m sure they’re human beings, it does.”

The power play, he said, “goes in cycles,” and he hoped it would come around in a hurry.

Torey Krug held out hope they would rebound five-on-five, “pop a few and get our confidence back,” he said. “We rely so much on our power play. It’s got to be good for us to win games. Tonight it was not. That falls on us as the skilled players and a lot of the leaders in the room to be better. We’ll look to fix that.”


Jaroslav Halak said the lack of offense in front of him isn’t wearing on him.

“Every game is a different game,” Halak said. “We couldn’t get anything going tonight. It’s tough. We just have to put it behind ourselves, have a good practice tomorrow and play a good game on Thursday.”

“Maybe we need to score an ugly one, off the shin pad, grind one out,” Halak offered.

Related: Ryan Donato got bumped up to the Bruins’ second line, but will he stay there?

Defenseman Connor Clifton helps Jaroslav Halak cover up after the Bruins goalie stopped a Panthers shot.
Defenseman Connor Clifton helps Jaroslav Halak cover up after the Bruins goalie stopped a Panthers shot.(Joel Auerbach/AP)

Clifton: Sorry ’bout that

Connor Clifton said he wasn’t sure if he hit Nick Bjugstad with his elbow on his spinning hit on the big Panthers wing.

The rookie defenseman, who stands 5 feet 11 inches and 175 pounds, said he was trying to brace himself for impact with Bjugstad (6-6, 215) and control the puck as he turned and belted him along the boards with 7:41 left in the game. It appeared Clifton may have caught Bjugstad with his elbow.

“I just hope he’s OK,” he said of Bjugstad, who remained on the ice for several moments before skating off under his own power.

Cassidy said he watched it from the bench, and “looked like he saw him coming, and turned into him. . . . Didn’t seem to hit him high. Maybe he left his feet driving through. There was no penalty on the play. The refs came over and told me they thought it was clean. I guess that’s out of my hands.”


McAvoy ups activity

Charlie McAvoy makes an impact, with his skating and bold playmaking from the back line. His concussion cobwebs clearing, McAvoy practiced in full Tuesday morning, skating on an extra pairing with Steven Kampfer (healthy scratch).

Cassidy doesn’t expect him to play Thursday in Tampa. He has not been ruled out for this week, but that doesn’t mean McAvoy, who sat for the 20th consecutive game, will play. He remains on an indefinite, doctors-orders timeline.

“I’d like to tell you, ‘He’s looking at next, whatever,’ ” Cassidy said before puck drop. “It’s not like Z [Zdeno Chara ] and Bergy [Bergeron] where they had a specific injury, they visited the doctor, they might be a little bit ahead. This one’s a little different that way.”

Nothing definite, but he’s traveling and practicing, with some degree of contact. It seems to be a matter of games or days, not weeks.

“I don’t see him playing Thursday,” Cassidy said. “But I’m not in a position to rule him out. That would be up to the medical people. . . . I just get the information when he’s practicing with us and when he’s feeling better just by talking to him.”

Less than stellar

Krug and Jake DeBrusk were a team-worst minus-3 . . . Defenseman John Moore landed five shots on net, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Danton Heinen four each . . . Cassidy said officials apologized to Boston after DeBrusk was called for a slash, a replay showing Colton Sceviour held his stick . . . David Backes, former St. Louis captain, on the challenge of facing the NHL-leading Lightning (21-7-1, 43 points) on Thursday “That’s why I’m glad we don’t play football. We don’t have to wait another week to get this going in the right direction. If you can’t get up for that one, you don’t belong here.”


Follow Matt Porter on Twitter at @mattyports.