The Bruins have started to show some cracks and weaknesses since Loui Eriksson went down to concussion last week. I don’t know why it took a week to hand down the suspension, but Buffalo’s Jon Scott got seven games. The Bruins meanwhile have shuffled the lines and moved Marchand back up to the Bergeron line, but in a twist on the right side with Reilly Smith a natural right wing on the left wing. At any rate, the shake up seems to have slowed down both the second and third line.
In last nights game against Anaheim, the Bruins called up Ryan Spooner from Providence. He settled on the third line and with Kelly and Soderberg. Sure enough it triggered Soderberg’s first goal of the season and Spooner was an ever growing concern all night for the Ducks. Spooner’s primary weapon was speed and the third line had a great jump and forecheck going all night. The fourth line plays well and seems to maintain good offensive pressure, but I think they occasionally deserve a few more shifts to get into the groove in the the first and second periods. Sitting last night was Jordan Caron and I think it was overdue. Caron has played well and hard, but this is a bad mix of players for him to compete with. He just doesn’t fit naturally with any of his teammates chemistry wise. Spooner came into tonight and showed that he can gel in multiple situations including time on the PP. I expect Spooner to get a few more games and wouldn’t be surprised to see him and Marchand swap positions. Marchand on the other hand, suddenly looks out of place with Bergeron. Their is something missing in his jump and he seemed to wear down in speed as the game went on. Is it Brad or is he nursing an injury right now?
The defense took a hit in the second period as John Boychuk went down and didn’t return. There were extra minutes for everyone as the Bruins scrambled with five defensemen the rest of the game. I expect Bartkowski to play against the Islanders on Saturday and hope that Boychuk doesn’t miss too many games. It looked like he hurt his back or hip to me. Tuukka Rask has been human his last two games and while he’s played well enough to win, he’s let in a couple of goals that could have made for wins the last two games. The big thing has been scoring depth the last week and failure to bury PP chances. The PK has been atrocious and the forward pairings may need some refinement.
The last five games the Bruins have at times been outplayed and taken some undisciplined penalties that have led to timely goals for opponents. The face-off wins are down and Krejci and Campbell have to pick it up. Tuukka stole last Thursday’s game against the Sharks and could use some more spot rest if he’s going to face 30 plus shots per game. We roll into November and the past three full seasons the Bruins have found their game during this month and I look forward to seeing the rust come off and the team image getting defined. I’m not sure, but wouldn’t be surprised if Caron became trade bait and maybe Marchand also. Well see what the brain trust does between now and Thanksgiving. See you next time and Congratulations to the Red Sox, 2013 World Series Champions!!