Five games into the slog that is an 82-game regular season in the NHL is way too soon to panic. Every team will have its ups and downs no matter how good they ultimately turn out to be. With that said, the Bruins (2-3-0) and their naturally worried fans have a reason to wonder what is going on with the club. They split the first two games of the campaign at TD Garden which was somewhat expected (although you would have picked them to lose to Nashville and beat Colorado) but they followed that up with a just completed 1-2-0 road trip against teams that frankly will be lucky to sniff a playoff spot next spring in the Western Conference.
The easiest explanation for their schizophrenic results thus far is that they have already suffered a rash of injuries: Patrice Bergeron and David Backes-two veterans that they count on in many ways-have yet to see any game action while Noel Acciari has also been out almost the entire time and to top off Sunday’s disappointing 3-1 loss at Las Vegas (4-1-0), Ryan Spooner (lower-body) and Adam McQuaid (lower-body) both left with injuries and the latter’s particularly looked serious after he took a hard slap shot by former teammate Colin Miller off the inside of his right leg and had to be basically carried off the ice to Boston’s dressing room.
“We were making it hard on ourselves,” admitted Bruins left wing Brad Marchand (3 goals, 3 assists this season) after the loss to former Boston first-round pick Malcolm Subban (20 saves in his 1st NHL win) and the Golden Knights. “We were trying to do too much with the puck. We weren’t directing enough pucks to the net which makes it tough to get there, you can’t get rebounds.”
If there is any good news for this frustrated bunch at the moment it has to be that the October schedule continues to be anything but that fearsome (at least on paper): Boston has four games in the next two weeks and they all happen to be at the Garden. They host Vancouver (1-2-1) on Thursday (7, NESN) and Buffalo (1-4-1) on Saturday night (7, NESN) before San Jose (1-3-0) is here next Thursday and Los Angeles (4-0-1) wraps things up a week from Saturday night (7, NESN).
The strange part about the Bruins’ lackluster performance in Vegas was that on Saturday night they played by far their most complete game in 2017-18-a 6-2 romp at lowly Arizona (0-4-1). The team was due to return to Boston on Monday with a much-needed practice set to begin on Tuesday morning. With all the injuries and numerous players that have yet to step up in Bergeron and Backes’ absence, you better believe that a guy or two will probably be making the short trip up 95 North from Providence to temporarily help out the Bruins. It sounds silly a couple weeks before Halloween but the B’s can’t afford to keep giving away points to opponents that are on their level or should be even below them when they are at full strength.