The Boston Bruins are very good at hockey, that’s nothing new. Through 50 games they’re seven points clear atop the NHL and their goal difference dwarfs every point total but their own. What is new is their current three-game skid, the first time all season Boston has lost consecutive games.
While the season has been chugging along at a historic pace, this past weekend was a welcome serving of humble pie.
The losses, while frustrating, aren’t necessarily much to sound the alarm about. Tampa outlasted Boston in a track meet, pulling away in the third despite the Bruins putting thirty-nine shots on goal. On Saturday night the Panthers stole the win in OT after tying the game with two seconds left. Then they got spanked by Carolina the next afternoon, their third game in less than 72 hours.
Frankly, Bruins fans must be relieved that their expectations can be tempered a little. Boston has garnered an almost suffocating amount of media attention and praise this year. Receiving comparisons to the ’96 Red Wings and ’19 Lightning are flattering yet dubious honors given their rather infamous playoff exits.
ESPN has even launched a “Bruins Record Tracker” column, piling more pressure and scrutiny on the team. New Englanders know all to well that when ESPN latches onto something, it won’t end well.
The Bruins bounced back with a 5-2 win in Toronto on Wednesday, but the All-Star break could not have come at a better time. They’ve played seven of their last eight on the road, and six of their next nine are as well. Following that mini-road gauntlet they face Dallas, Nashville, Seattle, Edmonton and Calgary all away from home.
Having a ten day break in the middle of a stacked schedule is the perfect time to for a slump. It affords Boston plenty of time to regroup, rest, and refocus for the stretch run.
Photo: AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker