There isn’t much going well for the Boston Bruins as of late. The playoff-bound team has struggled recently as we slowly inch our way to the playoffs. Here’s why Bruins fans shouldn’t panic… Yet.
The Bruins have been hit with a case of the injury bug. David Pastrnak has been sidelined for about 2 weeks now after leaving the game against the Blue Jackets on April 4. Hampus Lindholm was gone next, Matt Grzelcyk followed soon after, and more recently, Linus Ullmark left the game on April 14. He is now considered Day-to-Day with a head injury. The Bruins have certainly been feeling the lack of depth in the room. While being 6-4-0 in their last 10 games, the Bruins have yet to score a power-play goal.
Pastrnak’s absence has proven to be a big one. His production is missed in more ways than just the power-play. The second line has not looked the same since he got hurt. Erik Haula has kept up his production netting 5 goals in the time Pasta has been gone, but Taylor Hall and Curtis Lazar have been almost non-existent combining for only 2 goals! Hopefully, Pasta comes back sooner rather than later breaking the dam with his return.
The Bruins’ defensive core has been struggling to fill the void left by the absences of Hampus Lindholm and Matt Gryzelcyk. At times it looks like they pulled some of the Bruins fans out of the stands to line up on the blue line and it shows in the goal differential which is shockingly dead even in the month of April while having a +31 goal differential for the season.
As the season draws to an end and game 1 of the playoffs draws closer, there is still a mystery of who will be starting in net that day partially due to Ullmark’s absence. Rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman has seemed to have found his mojo in his last 2 starts. Coach Bruce Cassidy is going to have a big decision to make pretty soon. Does he go with the rookie that has been lights out all year and is coming out of a small slump, or does he go with a vet that is coming off of a head injury?
Rest assured, once the Bruins get all of their players healthy it should coincide with a resurgence in the team.
The Bruins are 15th in the league in power-play percentage at 21.4% but in the month of April, they sit tied for 30th with a 3.6% conversion rate. Abysmal doesn’t even begin to describe how bad this power-play has been. There just seems to be a mental fog that has appeared in the Bruins locker room that only affects their power-play production. The saving grace of the Bruins’ special teams is their penalty kill. over the month of April, the Bruins rank 15th in penalty kill percentage while being 9th for the season.
Let’s hope for a playoff run filled with health and plenty of power-play scoring. The Bruins are in a stacked conference and are going to need to convert those chances in order to keep themselves in the hunt for Lord Stanley’s Cup.