October 15, 2011

Chara: B's must get back to their 'bread and butter' against 'Hawks

Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara has been held without a point so far this season. (Getty)

Throughout the first four games of the season, there’s been a lot missing from the Bruins repertoire.

In their three losses, they’ve scored a grand total of three goals, consistently struggling to generate chances in the offensive zone. Their physicality has been lacking, as forwards renown for punishing opponents haven’t exactly been throwing their weight around.

And, much like last year, the power play has been utterly inept after capitalizing on their first man advantage of the year against Philly on opening night.

So what does it all stem from? According to captain Zdeno Chara, it’s because the Bruins have gotten away from the foundation of their nightly game-plan.

“That’s always been our bread and butter, to outwork the other team,” Chara said. “We just have to clarify that and make sure we earn that identity again. We have to clean up a few things in our game and make it simpler, and we should be fine.”

The Bruins have spent the last few practices doing just that.

“We worked on our transition game and our forecheck,” Patrice Bergeron said. “We just have to be better at what we usually do good. It’s our system and that’s all. It’s about making sure we’re back in sync as a group and we’re being sharp.”

They’ll get to see if their hard work pays off tonight, but imposing their will against the Blackhawks won’t be easy.

“It shouldn’t matter. Whoever we play, we have to play our game and focus on the thing we need to do,” Chara said. “We obviously recognize that, on the other side, there’s a really good team with a lot of speed and a lot of skill. They made some really good moves this summer, so it’s going to be a challenge for us. But mainly we have to focus on what we’re going to do.”

What they can’t do, however, is start reaching for the panic button. While slow starts have crippled many a team’s eventual playoff hopes, the Bruins recognize that 78 games still remain on the docket.

Keeping confident they can rediscover the formula that worked during their Stanley Cup run last season is a must.

“Obviously it’s 82 games for a reason and we’re only four games in,” Chris Kelly said. “We know we can play much better. As a group, we need to do the things that made us successful last year. But there’s no need to panic. It’s only four games.”