Boston Bruins Look To Weather Storm


Oct 28, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins head coach Claude Julien makes a call from the bench during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at TD Banknorth Garden. The Minnesota Wild won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

There’s no question a dark cloud has seemed to suddenly descend upon the Boston Bruins 2014-2015 campaign. A brittle but not completely broken blue line is all that stands after injuries over the last two weeks have left them without the services of Kevan Miller, Zdeno Chara, and Torey Krug for the next several weeks.

Amidst all the doom and gloom comes hope and that is in the fact the Bruins are playing through a relatively lighter part of their schedule. After having to work extra time to dispatch the Buffalo Sabres, the Bruins will begin a four game home stand tonight against the Ottawa Senators. The Senators should prove to be the toughest opponent the Bruins face over the next nine days, however given what we saw the other night against Buffalo, nothing should be taken for granted.

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As the Bruins continue to work new pieces into their lineup, it may be incumbent on Claude Julien to not only experiment with lines as he did for the Sabres game, but also to revert back to focusing on aspects of the game he is able teach and enforce to the utmost degree and that’s putting more of an emphasis on the defensive side.

I was already in the camp of heading in this direction prior to the injury to Torey Krug and even further so now that the Bruins are rolling a defensive corps that is essentially 50 percent Boston and 50 percent Providence. Watching the game against Minnesota the other  night; especially in the third period exposed the bottom half of our unexperienced defensive corps.

There have been two areas which have seemed to spell trouble for the Bruins as the injuries have piled up and that’s extended time in their own zone and allowing other teams to establish a net front presence which has resulted in a lot of dirty goals for the other side. Clamping down and taking more of a conservative approach could help the Bruins as they battle through the adversity they will be facing for at least another month.

While the Bruins defensive corps have been doing their best to manage; there has been another alarming trend that has been occurring and that’s flashes of chemistry mixed with periods of inconsistency. We witnessed this in the Sabres game the other night as well as the third period against Minnesota.

“If Brad plays [Saturday] like he did in the third period, there’s no doubt it would just be a matter of time before those guys are in the plus again and same with Smitty,” said Julien. “I thought he played a good third period, he was strong on the puck and he started making some plays and creating some chances.”“And we’re just talking about two guys here – what we need are our top players to be at their best and if they are, I think the plus-minus situation will resolve itself.”

If the Bruins are going to have any chance of keeping pace in their attempts to hover around the playoff picture until full healthy, consistent 60 minute efforts are going to have to happen on a more frequent basis. Aside from the Bruins 4-1 victory over the Leafs one week ago, you will be hard pressed to find a full 60 minute effort in recent memory.

Hopefully, the third period and overtime we saw the other night from players like Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith will be a spark this team uses as they begin their home stand with the hopes of collecting as many points as possible before a back to back on the road against Toronto and Montreal in the middle of the month.