Boston Bruins: What can the B’s fix?


Dec 13, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Ottawa Senators right wing

Bobby Ryan

(6) scores the winning goal past Boston Bruins goalie

Tuukka Rask

(40) during a shootout at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins aren’t just getting things done on offense. We’ve all been saying it, but not entirely meaning it. Now, we have to put it out there in the open and acknowledge it. In the last fourteen games, the Boston Bruins have scored two or less in eleven of them.

This could be forgiven if the Bruins had stellar defense. Sadly that’s not the case. The Bruins still have an ugly tendency to created gaps in their defensive lines. That deficiency was on display during the Bruins California road trip. The holes were bad enough against the elite of the Western Conference, but now the mediocre teams like the Ottawa Senators are having a field day in the Bruins defensive end. Those gaps allowed the Senators to tie the game against Boston and then win it in a shootout.

So, what are the Bruins going to do about this? Some of the Bruins players are having a good game followed by a bad game. (In Milan Lucic‘s case, that level of good player/bad player can vary from period to period). The Bruins are finally starting to get their regular defensive core back (again the Johnny Boychuk trade is looking like a class five disaster), but getting all the extra rust off takes time. To compensate for the dilapidated defense, the Bruins should be firing on all cylinders.

That’s where part of the problem lies. It’s safe to say only one line is at one hundred percent. The P-B-R line, centered by Patrice Bergeron. It’s the one line that Claude Julien has never seriously tampered with. Sure, he’d occasionally bring in an AHL player to test the waters (most notably David Pastrnak), but he has been loathe to cause any serious changes there. The reason? It’s the only consistent line we’ve got right now.

Let’s look at the others. Lucic and the Swedes were an incredibly streaky (and inconsistent) line. If Chris Kelly isn’t with Carl Soderberg and Loui Eriksson, he spends his days shepherding the AHL players that get assigned on the third line. The Bruins old top line doesn’t exist without David Krejci, and he’s most likely out for the upcoming road trip. That leaves the current incarnation of the Merlot Men. I think Daniel Paille and Gregory Campbell are underused and underappreciated. (Problem is that every time I go to bat for them in an article, it’s bad numbers, broken defense, giving up a goal on the penalty kill, or just missing the perfect shot on an open net.)

The Big Bad Bruins currently do not exist.  We see flashes of what it used to be (courtesy of Milan Lucic today), but it’s just not there anymore (thanks for that Chiarelli).While the organization certainly doesn’t need an Edmontonian level reset, it needs a serious kick in the pads for the team to get over this current drought. It’s just weird seeing the Florida Panthers in the playoff race with the Bruins looking on from the sidelines.