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They’re up, they’re down, they’re left, they’re right – for all it’s worth the Boston Bruins this season are as inconsistent as Windows ME and as unpredictable as your girlfriend after you say you just want to be friends. At 3-5-0 and two games left in the month, it’s highly possible the Bruins will finish a month with less than one point in the standings per game for the first time since January 2010, when they went 3-9-2.
The Bruins opened last week with an undisciplined, anger-driven, and poorly-played 4-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, giving back-up goaltender Tuukka Rask his second loss of the season. The Bruins quickly turned around against the Toronto Maple Leafs, convincingly winning 6-2 (with two power play goals!) and holding then-league-leading scorer Phil Kessel pointless. Then, the Bruins dropped a lackluster 4-2 decision to the San Jose Sharks in former Bruin Jumbo Joe Thornton’s 1001st game.
The lack of consistency exhibited by the Bruins is not just overall, but on a shift-to-shift basis. Head coach Claude Julien decided to shuffle the forwards a bit, trying to spark some offense, which is exactly what he got in joining Chris Kelly, Milan Lucic, and leading scorer Tyler Seguin (3-6-9, +7). Kelly and Lucic posted back-to-back multi-point games and the three sit atop the Bruins statistics table. However, Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron, and Brad Marchand are averaging only one-half of a point per game. While this may be acceptable for Rich Peverley, the other three need to pick it up.
The Bruins’ defense finally found its offensive touch against Toronto, as Zdeno Chara and Andrew Ference both had three-point efforts. Ference leads all defensemen with four points (0-4-4), with Joe Corvo picking up another three helpers. Chara is the only defenseman with a goal, but offense is no longer a concern, as the defense needs to play defense, giving up 10 goals in the last three games, with Corvo and Dennis Seidenberg both at -4 on the season.
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Adam McQuaid (neck) is still day-to-day… Jordan Caron was assigned to Providence after playing four games without registering a point… Gregory Campbell and Benoit Pouliot are still yet to record a point.
Thursday, October 27 vs. Montréal Canadiens, 7 p.m.
Saturday, October 29 @ Montréal Canadiens, 7 p.m.
The Boston Bruins end the first month of the season against division-rival Montréal Canadiens, playing a home-and-away pair. The Canadiens have come out of the gate rough and are in last place in the Eastern Conference at 1-4-2. Their sole win came over the Winnipeg Jets, who are now, with two wins, in second-to-last place in the East. Despite having a respectable penalty kill (81.3%), their power play is truly hapless (2-for-29, 4.9%) and goaltender Carey Price is far from the Vezina Trophy candidate many prognosticators had him pegged for during the pre-season. In the midst of a five-game losing streak, the Montréal also plays Monday night against the Florida Panthers and again on Wednesday night against the Philadelphia Flyers. In Pouliot’s first games against his old team, hopefully he and the Bruins can find some consistency and put together their first winning streak of the season. Expect Tuukka Rask to start at least one of the games and for P.K. Subban to dive at least seven times… per game.
Prediction: win both games against the Canadiens
The Washington Capitals remain the league’s only undefeated team at 7-0-0 after beating the Detroit Red Wings (5-1-0) 7-1. The Columbus Blue Jackets are still winless in eight attempts… Sidney Crosby has been cleared for contact in practices, but still yet to play in a game. The Pittsburgh Penguins are doing just fine without him, however, trailing only the Capitals in the Eastern Conference… Bill Simmons is now an L.A. Kings season-ticket holder. Somehow, he still manages to make an article about this fact about basketball.