The Boston Bruins are on a bit of a losing streak having lost their last two games. Normally it wouldn’t be that big of a deal but when one loss comes against your arch-nemesis, the Montreal Canadiens, and in the other you allow the Washington Capitals to overcome a 3-0 1st period deficit and go on to win the game, people tend to start to hit the panic button.
It should also be noted that in both games the Bruins clung to a 3-2 lead headed into the 3rd period. Last year, the B’s were 32-0-0 when leading after two periods, a far cry from this year’s 0-1-2 . So, it’s easy to see why this team blowing leads would cause fans some concern.
The Bruins (14-3-3) will be looking to get back on track and shore up their defensive game Thursday night when they host the Toronto Maple Leafs (15-9-0) at the Boston Garden.
Anton Khudobin is expected to get the start for the Bruins, he’s 3-1-0 on the season with a .906 save percentage and a 2.52 goals against average. Hopefully the team defense improves for Khudobin, as they’ve done nothing but let starter Tuukka Rask down recently.
Much maligned Bruins winger,Chris Bourque was put on waivers today by Boston. Not all totally his fault but the 3rd line has just been god-awful for the Bruins this year and they need to do something. This season the 3rd line has the worst +/- on the team, Peverley is -8, Kelly -7 and Bourque is -6. Last year Kelly and Peverly finished the season +33 and +20 respectfully. Is any of that Chris Bourque’s fault? I don’t think so but like I said, something needs to be done.
I’m expecting Daniel Paille will be moved to the 3rd line to take Bourque’s spot and Jay Pandolfo will take Paille’s on the 4th. I could have that backwards but we’ll see what Bruins head coach Claude Julien does.
However, this is all only a band-aid in my opinion and the B’s need to make a move and get some legitimate help on the 3rd line. No offense to Bourque, Pandolfo or Paille, but they just aren’t the answer.
Even with the 3rd lines struggles, they aren’t the only thing hurting the Bruins these days. They’ve been sloppy in their own end, mostly defenseman out of position or just a second late, but they need to clean up the play in their own end and they may have a tough time doing that Thursday night versus the Maple leafs.
It will be a tough test for the Bruins defense tonight as the Maple Leafs have shown they have quite a bit of offensive firepower, on the season they’re averaging 2.54 goals per game and thats good enough for 10th in the league.
The Maple Leafs are 7-3-0 in their last 10 games and are playing some pretty good hockey. They’re coming off a 5-4 OT win versus the Ottawa Senators and ex-Bruin Phil Kessel had a goal and two assists in the victory.
Forward Nazem Kadri is having one heck of a season for the Maple Leafs after being highly criticized the past year in and around Toronto. Some even called his weight and work-ethic into question. Those problems seem like they never had as Kadri right now is a point-per-game player in the NHL. He’s got 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points so far this season in 24 games, also he’s got 5 goals in the last 3 games alone.
The game will be aired on NESN regionally around New England and the puck drops at 7PM EST, you can also listen to the game on 98.5 the Sports Hub.