As teams continue to put pressure on the Boston Bruins, can the Black and Gold continue to tough it out?
I’ll be first to admit, I wasn’t sure if the Boston Bruins really needed to make a trade. But I had to take a hard look at their recent playing effort. The one thing about this team, which has been an issue these past few years, is the depth of their defense. As the trade deadline nears, most teams are looking to rebuild and that means making some changes. Recent rumbles throughout league would have the possibility of Jake DeBrusk going to Rangers in exchange for Ryan McDonough.
Yes, the Bruins need a top D-man, and Chara won’t be around forever. And yes, Carlo should be better than he is. Lacking that depth is being exposed in their recent road trip. We knew this was going to be tough test of just how good this team is and after a pretty bad showing against Vancouver, reality was starting to set in. If they want to be in the playoffs, they would have to play smarter, faster, and tougher.
After losing 6-1 against a low standing Vancouver team, the Boston Bruins had to bounce back. A win against Calgary gave another shot of confidence that the team needed. The Bruins went back to the basics while working on what needed to be polished. Tuesday’s night game against the Oilers was another test. Edmonton hasn’t been playing great this year, yet somehow managed to find their pucks behind the Bruins’ net. A quick look at some stats and you’ll see that Boston plays under .500 when they are two goals behind. The black and gold found themselves in a hole, which they had to dig themselves out of. Something had to change and with a stroke of genius, Coach Bruce Cassidy led the charge. With the third period getting underway, the Bruins were set to make a dramatic comeback. And they did. David Krejci skated alongside David Backes and Danton Heinen. Backes retrieved the puck from Edmonton, passed to Heinen which set up Krejci to score the winning goal. Because of the stellar comeback win for the Bruins, the question of whether the B’s can play gritty was answered.
The thing about this year’s Boston Bruins team is the production from their lines, particularly the 4th line. While the 1st line of Bergeron, Marchand, and Pastrnak has produced huge numbers for the team- let’s take a look at the 4th line. With Tim Schaller, Noel Acciari, Sean Kuraly, this line has been very productive for this team. Cassidy put that line out in the crucial minutes of the third period and sure enough, that move worked. The Bruins scored. In a bold move, Cassidy switched up his center and Riley Nash played alongside Jake DeBrusk and Ryan Spooner. After some great puck movement, Charlie McAvoy’s shot hit off Nash, who beautifully back passed to Matt Grzelcyk and the Bruins tied the game.
Coach Cassidy had this to say about the fourth line:
“Offensively, they’ve done a real good job chipping in.They’re over 20 goals even strength as a line. That’s pretty good for a fourth line that doesn’t see any power-play time. It was a big one by Noel tonight, typical goals. Again for Noel, going to the net, willing to pay the price, be around there. Very, very happy for those guys …I think they’re well liked by the group, so when they give you energy, it just gets the whole team going [and] they’ve done it more than once for us this year.”
March is going to be a tough month for the Bruins. After finishing their Canadian road trip, they’ll be back home for the next five games. With the newly acquired Rangers defenseman Nick Holden, the Bruins are looking to add some jolt to their defense. The black and gold will need to work on their back-end, make smart trades (if needed) and keep pushing. Cassidy will have to switch up lines and the young guns will need to play through their growing pains. Boston hasn’t exactly made the greatest decisions when it comes to making trades however, fans will have to trust the process. This could possibly mean losing a young player and that can be hard to swallow, given the amount of talent this team has and the chemistry they’ve built.
The Boston Bruins need to stick to the basics, drive hard to net and continue to get pucks in. Other teams will be gunning for a spot in the playoffs and the pressure will be on. One thing is for sure, this team is and has been exciting to watch. Because of the comeback win in Edmonton, this team continues to prove once again just how special they are. Cassidy keeps making the right calls, the team has found their stride and Holden is someone we could use. If everything falls into place, the Bruins will get far into the playoffs. Finally, does this team need another player like a McDonough or even a Lucic? From this writer’s perspective, Boston doesn’t really need to make another trade, but I’ll leave that to the experts.
Follow Liz Rizzo on Twitter @pastagrll88