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  • Three ups and three downs: November 4, 2015

    Daily News

    Three ups and three downs: November 4, 2015

    Anthony Travalgia November 4, 2015

    Things have certainly changed for the Bruins and for the better.

    Despite having their four-game win streak snapped last night at TD Garden, the Bruins have helped reduce some of the panic around Boston after their 0-3 start. But, even with their winning ways the Bruins still have many holes. Their defense is still very shaky and Tuukka Rask still hasn’t completely put the doubters to bed, even with back-to-back wins against the Coyotes and Panthers.

    Let’s take a look at three ups and three downs, starting with the ups.

    Colin Miller:


    Colin Miller notched his first career NHL goal in Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars at TD Garden (Photo credit: Joe Makarski/Bruins Daily)

    A lot of eyes since the beginning of the 2015-16 season has been on the Bruins young blue line. As the games roll on, and the Black and Gold continue to slide up and down, those eyes have not lost much focus. For those who have watched close enough, they have found that Colin Miller has been pretty solid for a Bruins d-core that certainly has had it’s issues.

    In Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars, Miller kicked off the scoring for the Bruins with his first period goal. The tally was Miller’s first National Hockey League goal. With a powerful shot and a smart hockey sense, Miller has become a reliable member of Claude Julien’s arsenal. Seeing significant time on the power play, Miller is paying off for the Bruins. The 23-year old blue-liner is third among Bruins defensemen in points (5) and his plus-4 has him tied for third on the team in plus/minus.

    Bruins’ power play:

    2014-1-3 Boston Bruins vs Ottawa Senators-8

    David Krejci’s seven power play points is tied for first in all of the NHL and has been a key to the Bruins top ranked power play (Photo credit: Joe Makarski/Bruins Daily)

    No need to pinch yourself Bruins fans, you’re not dreaming. The Bruins really do have one of the league’s best power plays, well statistically speaking, the league’s best power play.

    Converting on 34.2 percent of their power plays, the Bruins rank first in the National Hockey League and are the only team converting on more than 30 percent of their man advantages. The Stars sit behind the Black and Gold in second with a 29.5 percent success rate.

    Led by David Krejci, (7 power play points) Patrice Bergeron (7 power play points) and Torey Krug (6 power play points) the Bruins have gotten a mixture of production from many different bodies.

    This season the Bruins have been a whole different team on the power play. Moving the puck more crisp, creating space and finishing on their chances has helped propel the Bruins to the top of the league in power play percentage, a spot that they hope to remain in throughout the ’15-16 season.

    Loui Eriksson:


    Loui Eriksson’s 11 points has him tied with Patrice Bergeron for second on the team in points, four behind David Krejci. (Photo credit: Joe Makarksi/Bruins Daily)

    When the Bruins traded Tyler Seguin and change to the Stars in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow, expectations were high for Eriksson. Concussions and inconsistent play slowed Eriksson down during his first two seasons in Boston.

    But now in his third season with the Black and Gold, Eriksson is finally showing what the Bruins saw when they traded for the former 30-goal scorer. Playing alongside Krejci so far this season has certainly helped the 30-year old as his confidence continues to grow.

    For the first time as a Bruin, Eriksson has been a key component in the Bruins offense and the results are starting to show. Facing free agency this summer, Eriksson is picking the right time for his best season in Boston.

    Now let’s take a look at the downs.

    Bruins’ home record:


    Tyler Seguin’s hat trick Tuesday night helped drop the Bruins record at home to 1-4-1 (Photo credit: Joe Makarski/Bruins daily)

    Home cooking is usually where the heart is. For the Bruins, home is the last place where they want to be.

    With wins in all five road games to start the season, the road is where the heart is. After dropping Tuesday’s contest, the Bruins record at home dipped to 1-4-1.

    In the past under Claude Julien, TD Garden has been a difficult building to play in. Clearly, things have changed. On home ice, the Bruins have been outscored, 20-17.

    Things will change for the Bruins, they’re not going to continue to dominate on the road while continuing to struggle at home. But there’s no doubt that the Black and Gold need to pick up their play on home ice sooner rather than later.

    Bruins’ penalty kill:


    After allowing three power play goals to the Stars Tuesday night, the Bruins now have the leagues worst ranked penalty kill. (Photo credit: Joe Makarski/Bruins Daily)

    As good as the Bruins power play has been this season, the penalty kill has been equally as bad.

    After the Stars struck for three power play tallies on Tuesday, the Bruins now have the league’s worst-ranked penalty kill at 70 percent. Things won’t be getting any better for the Bruins and the penalty kill now that forward Chris Kelly is out for 6-8 months with a broken leg. Kelly ranks second on the team in shorthanded time on ice per game among Bruins’ forwards.

    Chris Kelly:


    Just three seconds into his first shift Tuesday night, Chris Kelly broke his leg, ultimately ending his 2015-16 season (Photo credit: Joe Makarski/Bruins Daily)

    Three seconds. That’s all it took for Kelly’s season to come to an end Tuesday night.

    Chasing the puck seconds into his first shift of the game, Kelly’s leg buckled under him, fracturing his left femur. Kelly will have surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital Wednesday to repair his leg and is expected to miss six to eight months.

    Kelly’s loss looms large for the Bruins. He is more than a fourth line forward. The veteran has played all three forward positions this season and has appeared all on the Bruins lines, minus the Bergeron trio. On the penalty kill and in the faceoff circle is where Kelly will be missed on the ice, but it’s off the ice where Kelly will be missed most.

    An important and respected voice inside the dressing room, many of the young Bruins look up to Kelly. A free agent to be this summer, it’s more probable than not that we’ve seen the last of Kelly in a B’s uniform.

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