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Boston Bruins Examine Themselves For Consistency

The Bruins Bruins' inconsistency has fans hitting their heads against the wall trying to figure out where it all went wrong. The black and gold are looking within for the same answer.

The loud raucous on Causeway Street has been the jeers of Beantown fans in reference to how consistently inconsistent the Boston Bruins have been so far this season.

They have had their embarrassing losses and yet have come back to man-handle an undefeated division opponent. They've looked like the Stanley Cup Champion of last year with Tim Thomas making saves that only he can seemingly make and have resorted to bad habits, such as not scoring when Tuukka Rask is between the pipes. 

However, according to defenseman Andrew Ference, it's not a big catastrophic problem. Fans don't need to run to the Tobin Bridge just yet. The problem lies in the most basic aspect of the game - the foundation of the Bruins' system.

Teams seem to beat them often in their own defensive zones. With coach Claude Julien's emphasis on the defensive side of things at the start of the preseason, Ference noticed that the defensive let downs have also been consistent, and something that needs to be addressed and fixed if they are going to improve.

"We have to get that foundation down and a good defensive play back in line," Ference said. "It hasn't been that consistent or had really good coverage in our own end. Some of the chances that teams are getting are coming from the slot and second chances and jumping on pucks and that's not something in our team had too much trouble with in the past. 

"That was a big reason for our success so if anything, that's a big lesson for us - you can do all the good things at the one end, but sloppiness will kill you in our own end."

They all know how to play in it - they were all there last year, save Beniot Pouliot and Joe Corvo. But the problem does not lie in their knowledge of the system, but how to get back into the way of playing in the system. How does one go from being the top team in the league to diving face first into a 3-5-0 record the first month of the season.

The answer? They want it too much. Yes, too much.

"We're a good team with a good system, but we run into trouble when we start reaching too hard for your game and getting outside of the system," Ference said. "It sounds weird, but wanting it too badly, you start doing things that are too complicated for what our system's designed around. So it's not a lack of wanting to turn things around individually as a team, that's almost what gets you in trouble sometimes. 

"Getting outside of the standard way our team plays. It's not a complicated way to play, but it takes a pretty strict adherence to the system, so once you get outside of that, even if it's a couple of guys, it blows up the whole way the team plays."

So what will it take? They seemed to have found at least a little bit of a solution. With the switch up of the lines, the offense produced, and players seemed a bit more comfortable on the ice. In fact, Tyler Seguin made note that playing with different people allowed people to settle into their own roles and not worry about the pressure of performing with the same players from last year.

"No one really had too much chemistry," Seguin said. "And when all the lines were mixed up, you kind of have to play your game and hope for the best. Everyone is focused on their own game and doing what they have to do and taking accountability and that's why I think we were successful because no one was thinking ‘oh it's the chemistry' it's just ‘I need to do my role, and it'll work out' and that's what happened."

So chemistry's out, instinct is in, and the Bruins have a shot at coming out of the bleak abyss that has enveloped them theses first couple of weeks. They will have a chance to gain some confidence in the meantime with a matchup against the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. The Habs are having an equally rough start to the year, and a win from either team could kick start each of their seasons. 

"It's coming around," Julien said about his team's play. "When you don't have a winning record, it's easy to get discouraged or down, but I know our team is coming around...When it does, hopefully we'll start winning on a consistent basis and get a little bit of a win streak going here."