Frustration is increasing for the Boston Bruins and so is the number in the loss column – especially on the road.
After going all of last season without losing three straight, the Bruins will try to avoid their fourth such streak of 2014-15 by capitalizing on a meeting with the last-place Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday.
Boston (19-15-5) finished with a league-best 117 points last season, but it hasn’t come close to living up to that lofty status in 2014-15. The Bruins have lost 10 of their last 15 games (5-6-4) and the last two have only added to their frustrations.
They blew a third-period lead before allowing a goal 44 seconds into overtime Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Ottawa. That came three days after Boston scored twice late in the third only to fall 4-3 in a shootout to Toronto.
"It’s frustrating for everybody," coach Claude Julien told the team’s official website. "I know we can nitpick every little detail of our game, but we’ve played the last two games well enough to win. They’re not perfect, but they’re good enough to win.
"We still forced some plays, (and) that ends up giving us some issues, but overall I thought the effort was good."
Julien would certainly feel better if his team could generate more offense, especially with three of the next four games on the road. The Bruins are averaging 2.18 goals during a 3-7-1 stretch away from home after scoring 18 times while winning four of their first six.
"We talk a lot about getting the extra goal to give yourself the cushion," center Patrice Bergeron said. "Right now, every little mishap or broken play or whatever that ends up in the back of our net. So it’s about finding a way really (to) bear down defensively when we do have the lead, (and) offensively, finding a way to give ourselves a breather."
Boston hasn’t had those issues against Carolina (11-23-4), winning six of seven meetings and four in a row while outscoring the Hurricanes 14-5. The Bruins took the latest matchup 2-1 at home Nov. 15, with Bergeron netting a goal for just his second point in six meetings.
David Krejci has four points in three games after tallying two assists against the Senators. A lower-body injury kept him out of the most recent matchup with the Hurricanes, but he has 21 points in the past 20 regular-season meetings – including three assists in a 5-1 win March 15.
The Eastern Conference-worst Hurricanes won for only the third time in 14 games (3-10-1) with Friday’s 2-1 victory over visiting Philadelphia. They were held to two goals or less for 13th time in that span.
"Playing with a lead, it helps relax everybody," said Cam Ward, who had 23 saves. "It’s no secret that it’s been difficult sometimes to score goals for our hockey club."
Captain Eric Staal has a goal in three straight games and a point in four in a row. The center has nine points in the past 10 games against Boston, but he’s failed to score a goal in six straight.
No Hurricanes player has felt the sting of Carolina’s offensive woes more than Ward, who has a 1.76 goals-against average in his last eight home starts but just a 3-4-1 record to show for it.
He’s lost his last five starts against the Bruins behind a 3.41 GAA.