OK, so maybe your Boston Bruins are not the second coming of the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens. That does not mean that, after three straight losses, they are in crisis mode.

The Bruins are 38-7-5. If the last three games have shown us anything, it’s that the pace they were on in the first three-plus months of the season is just not sustainable over the course of a full season in today’s National Hockey League. A bump in the road was long overdue.

But the Bruins have some work to do to ensure that this little pothole does not become a sinkhole. They still have sizable leads on both the Maple Leafs for the Atlantic Division (11 points) and the Hurricanes for the Eastern Conference (nine points) and they need to protect them.

As the Bruins were getting soundly beaten by the Hurricanes on Sunday, it became clear that home-ice advantage could very well be the tipping point in any number of potential series.

So with the Bruins getting some much needed-rest on Monday and Tuesday, here are some leftover ideas and thoughts form the Bruins Lost Long Weekend.



One of former coach Bruce Cassidy’s laments when the power play hit the skids was “We got stubborn.” That looked to be the case again when the Bruins’ top unit attempted to carry the puck into the zone only to have the attack repelled over and over and over again. When the Bruins finally started to dump the puck in on Sunday, they put it in spots that goaltender Frederik Andersen could handle it or they had no one moving with speed to get in behind the defensemen. The Bruins went 0 for 12 in the three losses when a goal here or there could have changed any one of those games.

The expected return of Jake DeBrusk after the All-Star break/bye week should help. That’s not to lay all the problems of the power play on Taylor Hall, DeBrusk’s replacement there. Through the first 10 games of DeBrusk’s absence, the Bruins clicked at 28% (7 for 25). But Hall, replaced on the unit by David Krejci in Carolina, does tend to roam from his net-front spot and the top unit eventually became disjointed.

The Bruins do have one important game before the break, in Toronto on Wednesday. We wouldn’t mind seeing Nick Foligno at the net front on the top unit. He’s strong on tips, puck retrieval and is a pretty deft passer from behind the net.


Coach Jim Montgomery is testing out options for the long term and, with the Bruins’ position in the standings, there is no better time to do that. But the Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-Hall combination is an idea that has run its course. Hall’s game, for whatever reason, did not translate well to playing the off wing. In 22:58 of ice time, the combo has neither scored nor been scored upon, but the five-on-five high-danger chances are 6-3 against them, according to Natural Stat Trick. Not every experiment works.

Like the power play, this issue eventually should resolve itself when DeBrusk returns and he presumably takes his spot with Bergeron and Marchand. Hall can return to play with Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic, where he’s helped to provide the Bruins with depth scoring that allowed for their torrid first half.


In the meantime? Load up with Pastrnak with Bergeron and Marchand and let Hall play with Krejci and Pavel Zacha. Zacha can play his off wing and the trio produced the only goal in Carolina. However it happens, the Bruins need to get Hall going again. After getting credit for the Bruins’ lone goal in Carolina after it was originally given to Zacha, Hall has two goals in his last 20 games.


Acknowledge what he is, folks, instead of lamenting what he is not. For some reason, Carlo has replaced Tuukka Rask for some vocal fans as the vessel for all that is wrong with the Bruins. And, yes, he had a very rough game in Carolina, punctuated by the Hurricanes’ third goal when Seth Jarvis stripped him of the puck and scored on a breakaway. He was also minus-6 in the three losses, though he was not primarily responsible for all those dashes. The fact of the matter is Carlo has had a very good season, doing yeoman’s work with Derek Forbort on the team’s league-leading penalty kill and he’s transitioning the puck much better under Montgomery and assistant John Gruden.

Carlo doesn’t ram opponents through the boards on every shift and, with him being 6-foot-6, some folks will forever hold that against him. It doesn’t mean he can’ be effective at what he does and, more often than not, he is.


The Bruins have looked spent, starting from the third period in Tampa last Thursday. It could be physical, but it’s just as likely the slippage is due to mental fatigue from being every team’s measuring stick game for the past couple of months now. The upcoming break will do some good, but they still have a western Canada swing, plus 15 games in March.

We’re not a fan “load management” when it comes to healthy guys sitting out games, but considering the age of a few of the top players, the Bruins might have to do that when and if they’re comfortable in their playoff positioning.

But perhaps more importantly, they need to supplement at the trade deadline. Obtaining Bo Horvat is no longer an option after the Islanders’ Lou Lamoriello swooped in and grabbed him on Monday for Anthony Beauvillier, prospect Aatu Raty and a conditional first-rounder. But adding a Jonathan Toews or even a Nick Bjugstad to bolster the fourth-line scoring and provide more options in the top nine usually has a re-energizing effect on the whole team.

With the way they’ve looked the last few games, the Bruins could use a shot in the arm.

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