Claude Julien  isn’t about to panic about his team’s lack of finish to start the season.
After all, the Bruins have been through this before in the last several seasons and eventually found their touch when it mattered most late in the season.
Still, Monday’s 3-2 loss to the Red Wings stung because the Bruins not only have five power play chances but a 5-on-3 for nearly a full two minutes and had good puck possession time in the offensive end but couldn’t get one past Jonas Gustavsson. The Bruins have just 12 goals in five games. Only Buffalo and Ottawa have scored fewer in the new eight-team Atlantic Division.
“We’re really struggling with our finish lately,” Julien said. “It looks like we’re feeling the pressure of scoring goals and they’re not coming easy. So it’s been like that. Even the game in Columbus, took us a while to get going there, obviously Colorado. So I think our goal scoring confidence is probably not where we’d like it to be right now but you have to work through those things.”
As for the experience of having gone through this before, Julien says there are similar tendencies he seen over the years.
“We go through that it seems like every year at some point,” Julien added. “You’re seeing guys either fanning or shooting over the net. There were some scrambles there today where everybody thought the puck was going in the net and whether the goalie stops it or pucks are bouncing it doesn’t matter; the confidence isn’t there right now. So wait on that when the confidence comes back; you’re going to see us score some goals because we feel we have some guys that can score goals on this team.”
The only player who seems to be gripping the stick tighter than anyone right now – by his own admission – is Jarome Iginla. The star forward is still looking for his first goal in a Bruins uniform. He had five more shots on goal on Monday and 19 for the season in five games and still nothing.
“I had some great looks,” Iginla said. “I’ve had great looks for a few games. And pretty much I’ve been getting more chances and you get to a five on three you get chances like that you want to score. I think I missed the net on a couple goals, I think it’s probably just being a little too anxious. Just lifting my head up and you want to get that goal for the team and just get one and get feeling it. At times you squeeze a little too hard, its all those clichÃ©s, sayings you hear, you try to swing a little too hard and lift my head a little bit. And just not in a grove there where you just want to kind of will it in the net as opposed to let it happen.”
“I think he can shoot the puck a lot better than we’ve seen him because we know he’s a good shooter,” Julien said. “So, whether that’s pressing or whether that’s circumstances I don’t know. But he’s been around the league long enough, he’s going to find his way and he’s going to score some goals for us and he’s going to be the player that we thought he would be for our hockey club. So right now it just isn’t there and I see maybe a little hesitation in shooting where, when a player has confidence, their release is a little quicker too.”
The Bruins had 25 of their 30 shots on goal during 5-on-5 play and three shots during the 5-on-3 early in the third period.
“One of the major things that I see right now is that we’re not finishing,” Julien said. “Again, if you look at the scoring chances, they’re there, and if you score we’re not even talking about what we think is overpassing. I think we’re spending a lot of time in the offensive zone and I think we’re moving the puck fairly well. It’s not perfect, but at the end of the day the main thing of a power play is that you have to score and we’re not doing that, so you can’t be happy with it.
“It’s a five-on-three that we’ve practiced that’s worked well when we’ve put them together. And sometimes guys five-on-three, you have guys that work together and have different plays and again, there were some chances there, there were some shots but some of our guys that are good shooters probably aren’t shooting as well as we’d like them to be. So that kind of explains a little bit what I just said earlier ‘ we’re not putting the puck in the net on our power play. It doesn’t matter who it is, you’ve seen other guys go on the power play and it seems to be a team thing right now and we’re fighting to score goals.”
Julien showed his sense of humor at the end of Monday’s post-game presser, going back on something he said just moments earlier.
“Well, I don’t even know if lack of confidence is the right [phrase],” Julien said. “I should have put it this way: I think we’re pressing. That’s what we’re doing ‘ we’re pressing right now. I don’t think our guys don’t feel they can score. I think we’re pressing right now and that’s probably what you’re seeing. Once we get some goals I think we’ll be pressing a little less. So I guess everything I said earlier about the lack of confidence is a lot of B.S. It’s probably more about the pressing than anything else. Our guys can score a goal, they’ve shown they can do it but we’re just pressing right now.”