|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
With just five games left in the regular season, the Bruins (35-30-12) find themselves in desperation mode, needing every point they can get to cling to their playoff spot. That clinging starts tonight when they head north of the border to face the Eastern Conference’s cellar dwellers, the Toronto Maple Leafs (29-36-13).
Boston currently sits in a tie with Philadelphia for seventh in the East, but they are just two points ahead of both Atlanta and the New York Rangers, who hope to climb the ranks into the conference’s top eight.
If the Bruins are going to eek their way into playing playoff hockey this month, their offense is going to have to find a way to light the lamp. With just one goal in their last two games, coach Claude Julien decided to shuffle his forward lines at Friday’s practice. Most notably, Julien dropped struggling winger Michael Ryder to fourth-line duty, a punishment for his lack of offensive pop all season. Ryder is one of just three Bruins to lace up the skates for every game this season, but with guys like Shawn Thornton and Trent Whitfield willing to put in the extra effort, it could be Ryder who watches the game from the press box sooner rather than later.
Time now to tickle your fancy with some pre-game notes from Toronto…