After watching yet another disastrous loss (4-3 in overtime) on their home ice (in a season already chock full of them) on Tuesday, the Bruins front office hopefully has reached the only logical conclusion at this juncture: the team has to make a trade before the deadline (February 29) or else they might not even make the postseason (again) let alone have any type of impact in it. Good teams don’t blow two-goal leads in the third period to one of the worst clubs in the NHL (Maple Leafs).
Boston (26-18-6) is tied with the Islanders (26-16-6), Lightning (27-18-4) and Red Wings (25-16-8) since they all have 58 points. However, the Bruins are in seventh-place in the Eastern Conference, only a point ahead of the Penguins (25-17-7) and Devils (26-20-5), because they have played 50 games which is more than all of those aforementioned teams (except for New Jersey who has played 51). What’s more, the B’s possess the second-worst home record (11-13-3) in the East which all ties back to their shaky defense (135 goals allowed, more than any of those other playoff contenders).
It’s tough to protect a lead when you can only rely on a few defensemen like Torey Krug (3 goals, 20 assists, +4) and to a lesser extent Zdeno Chara (7 goals, 20 assists, +9). Between an over-the-hill veteran like Dennis Seidenberg (-2 in 34 games), a guy who is always hurt (Adam McQuaid) and youngsters who aren’t quite ready for primetime (Kevan Miller, Zach Trotman and Joe Morrow), Boston’s options in terms of defensemen are scary bad. For years, Bruins fans have always clamored for a “puck-moving defensemen”, a term which has been in vogue in today’s NHL. Still, they have a point since other than Krug, name a Bruins defenseman that can consistently carry the puck up ice and even get past an opponent or two once he reaches the neutral zone?
“To start off the second half of the season, it’s important that we have to win these games,” admitted Kevan Miller after the very disappointing loss to Toronto. The schedule out of the break isn’t too daunting for the B’s since up next they are in Buffalo (20-26-4) on Thursday (7, NESN) then they host the Sabres on Saturday night (7, NESN) at TD Garden. Beating up on their Atlantic Division rivals wouldn’t mean that much in the bigger picture though since Buffalo won’t be in the playoffs and Boston will have to play much better against the top teams.
Head coach Claude Julien was understandably frustrated on Tuesday, talking about how the Bruins “shoot ourselves in the foot. I don’t know if we’re afraid to lose; it’s not good enough if we want to contend.” It’s time for Bruins GM Don Sweeney to pull the trigger on a trade that will shake things up since as they are currently constructed, the Bruins are going nowhere fast.