Bruins second half season preview: 3 things to watch for

Tuukka Rask Bruins
Tuukka Rask deserves more than a few nights off in March and April. Credit: Getty Images

With the glow from the Sochi Olympics slowly wearing off, here are three things to pay attention to when it comes to the Bruins for the rest of the regular season and what they hope is another long postseason run.

1. How will their Olympians play?
The biggest thing to watch coming out of the break is how their five Olympians (Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Loui Eriksson and Patrice Bergeron) recover from the travel and games. All five played in at least four games while in Sochi and one could make the case that this five is the B’s top five. It’s hard to predict how the jet lag, time difference, mental and physical fatigue will play a role in Boston’s season the rest of the way. A side benefit might be the fact that head coach Claude Julien was an assistant for Canada. He obviously didn’t play in any of the contests but more than someone who was in the States over break, he should have a better idea how his players are feeling.


2. Getting enough rest for Rask and Chara
Even if this wasn’t an Olympic year, we’d still be talking about this major topic. Finding a balance for Rask and Chara is central to Boston’s success this spring. With Chad Johnson’s emergence in net, Julien won’t be losing much sleep when he considers benching his franchise goaltender from time-to-time. Rask isn’t the biggest player, so he tends to get worn down when he makes too many starts in a short period of time. Julien hates to ease back on Chara’s superhuman workload but this time, he might finally change his tune. The Bruins don’t have a replacement for Chara (who does?) but giving him a game off here or there could really help the captain by the time the playoffs roll around in mid-April.

3. Don’t be afraid to be road warriors
Boston is 14-10-2 on the road so far this season, which is fine, but it’ll need to improve on that mark in its last 25 games since 15 of them are on the road. The Bruins will have to get used to life on the road with three game road trip in early March and a four-game road swing at the end of March and into April. The B’s will likely be a top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, so technically they won’t need to win too many road games in the postseason to advance. Still, a road win sprinkled in makes life much easier and takes the pressure out of winning every game at TD Garden.

Games to Watch
Wed., Feb. 26: Bruins at Sabres. First game in 2.5 weeks, how will Boston look?
Wed., March 12: Bruins at Canadiens. Boston is 0-2 vs. Montreal this season.
Thurs., March 27: Bruins vs. Blackhawks. B’s lost 3-2 in a shootout in Chicago Jan. 19
Sun., April 13: Bruins at Devils. Boston closes out the regular season in New Jersey.

Follow Metro Boston Bruins beat writer Richard Slate on Twitter: @RichSlate



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Local

NYPD looking for lewd D train rider

The NYPD is enlisting the public’s help to find a man they say performed a lewd act on the D train Saturday evening. The incident…

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

Television

'Pretty Little Liars' recap: Season 5, Episode 12,…

If you've wondered whether Ali and Bethany knew each other, you got an answer tonight: Yes, and in a very tangled way. But many lingering…

Entertainment

Cymbals Eat Guitars Have Everything to 'LOSE'

At its most basic level, a rock band can be thought of as a family, a group of people selflessly devoted to a cause. When…

Entertainment

"Bachelor in Paradise" recap: Episode 4, 'Week Four'

Some things are hard to watch in a “Human Centipede” sort of way. Other things in an “American History X” sort of way. Does “Bachelor…

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…

Wellbeing

Working your way to type 2 diabetes: Job…

When it comes to type 2 diabetes, a stressful job can be as risky for your health as a bad diet and no exercise. A…