Bruins return to Boston to face two division foes
When we last saw the Bruins on Causeway Street, they were rolling after a pair of easy 4-1 wins against the hapless Panthers and Capitals. My how things can change in a little over a week in this wacky 48-game NHL regular season.
Boston (20-7-3, second in Northeast Division, fourth in Eastern Conference) was lucky to go 1-3-0 on this week’s brutal four-game road trip to Pittsburgh, Winnipeg, Ottawa and Toronto. The B’s have to be happy about seeing TD Garden again, where they are 10-2-1. They host the Maple Leafs on Monday (7 p.m., NESN) then the Canadiens on Wednesday (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network) in two pivotal Northeast Division matchups.
The three main issues for Boston over the rough week were a lack of scoring, power-play failures and injuries taking their toll. The Bruins scored six goals in the four games, one in each of the first two games and two in each of the last two contests. For some context, defenseman Dennis Seidenberg scored his first two goals of the season (in the last two games) while Milan Lucic hasn’t scored in March. Going hand in hand with the scoring drought has been their power play outage. They were 0-for-9 in the four games.
Already missing versatile center Chris Kelly, defenseman Adam McQuaid went down with a shoulder injury in Winnipeg which will put him out 3-4 weeks, while Johnny Boychuk is day-to-day with a mysterious leg injury suffered in practice during the trip.
The Leafs (17-12-3) finally snapped their eight-game losing streak against the Bruins on Saturday night so they have to possess some newfound confidence. Still, they are six points behind Boston (43-37) and the Bruins have two games in hand so the Leafs are fighting an uphill battle. A win on Monday would give Boston much-needed momentum heading into what is a huge meeting with the Canadiens (20-6-5).
Montreal is at Pittsburgh on Tuesday so there’s a good chance the Bruins, who are two points behind the Canadiens with a game in hand, could regain control of the division with a win. Boston goes to Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m., NESN) then Buffalo on Easter night (7:30 p.m., NBC Sports Network), a good opportunity to pick up points against teams that are in 10th and 13th respectively in the Eastern Conference.
Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter @RichSlate.