Bruins Beat: Bruins’ Hope To End on High Note

Following the Christmas break, the Bruins were holding on to second place in the Eastern Conference, trailing the New York Rangers by three points. This spot near the top of the Conference standings is thanks to the hot streak the locals managed to post to start the 2023-24 season. 32 games into the regular season, the Bruins have now hit a low spot, having lost their last four games…their longest losing streak since 2019. Many things come to the forefront as the possible cause – or causes – for this change in success. The big boys making the big money are not producing with regularity, the defense on many occasions has been shabby, and without some strong play in goal, things could be a lot worse at this point. Fortunately their strong start to the season currently has them leading the Atlantic Division, by four points over the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Florida Panthers.

Disciplined play has also been missing in many games, leading to weak penalty kills, which often results in Boston giving up power play goals. The formula of taking a lot of penalties and not have the solid penalty kill is a deadly combination that always ends up badly. Add to the mix, the inability to protect a lead late in the game, especially noticeable lately in their third period play. The sputtering offense has been a mystery, A look at the team’s stats reflect that very fact, as David Pastrnak leads the team with 20 goals/24 assists – 44 points, trailed by Brad Marchand’s 16-point drop off 13/15 – 28, and another seven point gap before hitting the next three players tied at 21 points – Charlie Coyle, Pavel Zacha, and James van Riemsdyk. Not very impressive numbers for sure. Glaringly missing from the team’s point leaders is the name of Jake DeBrusk, a player who came into this season with high expectations, and to date he has only four goals, and none in the last ten matchups. Team captain Marchand has also hit a dry spell – one goal for the previous seven games, Zacha is scoreless for his previous seven, and van Riemsdyk’s hot start to the season has resulted in just a single puck finding the back of the net in the past 15 games for him. DeBrusk is on the list of players whose goal-scoring has become ice cold, This is the combination that explains why the Bruins are having trouble taking home the two points lately, as despite some adequate to excellent goaltending by Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, it’s pretty difficult to win a game when only scoring a goal or two. Proof of that is in the numbers which show the Bruins in their previous eight games, have only managed a pair or fewer goals, and sadly, in four of those games they were only able to score a single goal. Solve some of those problems soon, and possibly the ship can right itself.

At press time (Wednesday), the Bruins were taking on division-rival Buffalo Sabres on the road, returning home to host the New Jersey Devils on Saturday 7:00pm, back on the road for a pair in Detroit on Sunday 5:00pm, and Tuesday 7:00pm with the Blue Jackets, before coming back to TD Garden ice to host the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday at 7:00pm. These Eastern Division teams are presently playing at a low level, with only New Jersey having picked up the pace with a 6-3-1 record for their last ten games.

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