Boston Bruins: The Good, The Bad, and The Third Line.


Oct 8, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins center

Carl Soderberg

(34) controls the puck while being pursued by Philadelphia Flyers left wing

Michael Raffl

(12) during the second period at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins were beaten 4-0 last night by the Washington Capitals. It was a loss that was disheartening to the fan base. Even members of the team said they were embarrassed by the two straight losses.

“I think we were outworked, out-battled, and obviously outplayed over the course of one hundred twenty minutes, not just sixty,” offered Bruins alternate captain Chris Kelly, “I think the only positive I can think of is, it’s game three. Other than that, it’s two poor, poor efforts.”

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Special teams have been struggling early in the season. They have allowed three goals on eleven penalty kills. They’ve only gone one for eleven on the power play. It’s not just a matter of hitting good goalies, it’s a matter of not connecting to generate better scoring chances.

There are a few things going for Boston, and they can build on that to generate success. The first thing the B’s can take heart with is their third (now de facto second) line. The trio of Chris Kelly, Carl Soderberg, and Loui Eriksson have been the most effective one for Boston so far. They’ve been aggressive on the forecheck, they’ve been the most consistent when it comes to puck possession, and they have been the most fearless when it comes to crashing the net.

While Patrice Bergeron has been the best overall player for the B’s so far, the third line has been the best line. A lot of it comes from Chris Kelly. He’s done a great job transitioning to the wing, and has even been dubbed an ‘honorary Swede’ by his linemates. A lot of credit has to go out to him for playing so well after back surgery.

I’m sure Kelly heard all the grief from the fans and writers. He had to have known about all the people that wanted him traded to practically anywhere. He’s been playing some of the best hockey of his career these last three games. He’s always been a leader in the locker room, but now he’s emerging as a leader to the press corps. He talked about the rough performances the B’s have had so far this season, and nailed it on the head.

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  • “It’s a team-wide thing, it’s not just a few guys,” Kelly said. “You guys can see it just as much as we can. Like I said, it’s not a passing thing or a positioning thing, it’s a working thing. It doesn’t matter who you’re playing with. You could play with two total strangers, and all you have to do is go out and work hard.”

    He’s not blaming their bad performance on the influx of newer players. Neither should we. The veteran players have been equally disappointing. In the end, this kind of loss may be just what the Bruins needed. A good, swift kick to the pride to get them to shake off the lethargy and plow into the Colorado Avalanche when they come to Boston tomorrow.

    The Soderberg line will be the ‘second’ line until David Krejci gets back from his injuries. Once he’s healthy, they’ll have to figure out if keeping Ryan Spooner on the top line is the best move for Boston. He has the potential to be a great full time player in Boston, and the move to the wing may be what the Bruins need. We’ll see what changes (if any) Claude Julien makes when they take on the Avalanche tomorrow.