Boston Bruins: Less-than-stellar November tests Bruins’ character

BOSTON - NOVEMBER 12: Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask looks skyward after the Panthers scored to tie the game at 4-4. Florida's Aleksander Barkov (16, right) and Evgenii Dadonov (63, top) celebrate as the Bruins' Matt Grzelcyk (48) and Charlie McAvoy (73) do not. The Boston Bruins host the Florida Panthers in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Nov. 12, 2019. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - NOVEMBER 12: Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask looks skyward after the Panthers scored to tie the game at 4-4. Florida's Aleksander Barkov (16, right) and Evgenii Dadonov (63, top) celebrate as the Bruins' Matt Grzelcyk (48) and Charlie McAvoy (73) do not. The Boston Bruins host the Florida Panthers in a regular season NHL hockey game at TD Garden in Boston on Nov. 12, 2019. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /
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It happened again. For the second time in four days, the Boston Bruins blew a third period lead and then lost in the shootout on home-ice. November has been a difficult month for Torey Krug and his team, and Krug himself has now been placed on IR by the Bruins and is not eligible to return to the lineup before Tuesday.

Injuries seem to be the leading cause to the Bruins troubles on the ice, while Cassidy has made call-ups from Providence on what seems to be a nightly basis. The Providence prospects have played okay, but even my optimism has been jagged a bit as we haven’t seen a prospect truly breakout like we did when David Pastrnak and Charlie McAvoy first entered the league.

I’ve been surprisingly happy with the play of Zach Senyshyn in November, I think the kid adds deceptive speed to that third line – sort of like Ryan Spooner did several years ago, except the work ethic is evident in Zach Senyshyn while it was clearly lacking in Spooner’s game. Speaking of Spooner, he now plays for Minsk Dynamo in the KHL and likely will never return to the NHL (2018 Rick Nash trade for the win!).

So, if the Providence call-ups have played for arguments sake, ‘average’, what has the issue been in November? Aside from injuries, its been the Bruins lack-of ability to close out games. We’ve seen prime examples of this against Washington on Saturday, and Florida last Tuesday. In addition to this, I’ve noticed that the Bruins have had slower-than-normal starts to their games. In fact, in games when the Boston Bruins have lost in November, they have been outscored 8-3 in the first period.

Knowing this, it’s clear that if the Bruins are having trouble protecting their third period leads, or are falling behind early in the game, they will struggle to put together wins. I’m not concerned with this latest trend and I think the issues are tied to team-fatigue. The Bruins have suffered from a lack of roster depth and have been leaning on some of their best players more than usual. This could be wearing down the players who have been available night-in and night-out, although not every player is feeling the fatigue (looking at you, Brad Marchand.)

The upcoming schedule brings optimism to Bruins fans as only one of the teams next six opponents currently sit in a playoff position. The Bruins are 1-3 against in-division rivals this month and will need a strong second-half to the month to regain that separation at the top of the standings. The Montreal Canadiens have continued playing above expectations and now sit just three points behind the Bruins for first place in the Atlantic. This should add some extra drama to their next match-up against the Habs on November 26.

Months like November can test a team’s character. Those teams who have been able to overcome adversity once, twice, or more in a season have proven to become more successful when the post season rolls around. Just recently we saw what overcoming adversity meant for the 2019 St. Louis Blues and what lack of exposure to adversity did to the 2019 Tampa Bay Lightning. My point is I would rather see the Bruins face times like these during the season, and learn how to overcome them, than to face similar situations in the spring with no experience whatsoever.

Next. Grzelcyk steps up for Krug. dark

We are still winning games, still scoring goals, and still atop the Atlantic division standings. I guess you could say that we are #stillhere.

Go Bruins.