Boston Bruins Gameday 61: Weathering The Storm

BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 6: Brad Marchand
BOSTON, MA - JANUARY 6: Brad Marchand /
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The big news coming out of the Boston Bruins camp is that Patrice Bergeron will be sidelined for up to two weeks with a fractured foot. Considering how poor the Bruins have been in recent outings, the news couldn’t come at a worse time.

It shows how far the Boston Bruins have come this season that 6-4-0 in your last ten is below par. It’s testament to the expectations that Bruins have shattered this season. However, apart from the start of the season there haven’t been many times this year that the Bruins have been unwatchable. Sunday’s game with the Buffalo Sabres came very close.

The fact that Patrice Bergeron arrived in Buffalo wearing a protective boot and then played on it should rattle a few fans. This is not the time for martyrdom, the Boston Bruins need their talisman firing on all cylinders come playoff time.

Welcoming New Arrivals

With Rick Nash getting his TD Garden bow and Tommy Wingels expected to centre the third-line, there should be a lot of jump in this Bruins team tonight. Expect a loud building for Nash as he will certainly look to impress his new home fans.

Hungry Hungry Hurricanes

The Carolina Hurricanes are by no means out of the playoff hunt and will be ravenous to secure two points in Boston tonight. Currently five points off the Columbus Blue Jackets who occupy the final wildcard slot with a game in hand on the Ohio outfit. With the Metropolitan division so tightly packed, every game for them will have implications for the postseason.

It’s hard to tell whether this suits the Bruins or not. They seem to fare better against tougher opposition, and let the foot off the gas against teams they expect to beat. Buffalo was a clear care in point.

Second Defensive Pairing

The Major worry aside from Bergeron’s absence is that of the second defensive pairing. Krug and Carlo (briefly McQuaid) have been a shambles defensively in recent games. In Boston’s last five games Brandon Carlo has played four, he has been on the ice for six goals conceded and one scored. His Goals For (GF) percentage is 14.29% over that stretch. His usual partner has fared ever so slightly better with six conceded and two scored. Leaving Torey Krug with 25 GF%.

Boston Bruins
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 24: Mitch Marner /

Both have allowed the most scoring chances during that five game stretch. Added to this ranking bottom of the team for Fenwick measurement.

I personally would like to see Matt Grzelcyk moved up the lineup and given some more responsibility to see if his numbers stand up. He’s beginning to show his reliability, maybe some special team experience should be handed out prior to the playoffs.

Line Combinations

With Patrice Bergeron out of the lineup it’s looking likely that Riley Nash will centre two of the hottest wingers in the National Hockey League. Courtesy of dailyfaceoff here are the Boston Bruins predicted lines tonight:

Marchand-Riley Nash-Pastrnak

DeBrusk-Krejci-Rick Nash

Heinen-Wingels-Backes

Schaller-Kuraly-Acciari

Next: Boston Bruins Week 21: Nashty Edition

Chara-McAvoy

Krug-Carlo

Grzelcyk-Miller

On The Horizon

With a tricky test against the resurgent Pittsburgh Penguins, the Boston Bruins will be eager to snag two point this evening. Furthermore, the Canadiens follow just after that and if we’ve learnt anything about Atlantic Division rivalries (especially the Habs), the standings are irrelevant in these matchups. Especially for those teams whose seasons are over.