The first 14 games seem like a distant memory for the slumping Boston Bruins.
Bruce Cassidy’s squad carries a four-game losing streak for the first time since their mid-November slide in 2017. Their timely goal scoring and standout defensive structure that carried them to an 11-1-2 start didn’t show up during their losses against the Canadiens, Red Wings, Flyers and Panthers.
The defensive breakdowns, blown leads and a dip in offensive production aren’t the only troubling trends of this losing streak. The ongoing battles with the injury bug and makeshift lineups haven’t been easy for a Bruins squad that only sits three points ahead of Montreal and Florida in the Atlantic Division.
Cassidy and company went back to work Thursday at Warrior Ice Arena to prepare for their weekend slate against the Maple Leafs (in Toronto) and league-leading Capitals (at TD Garden). Yet, the Bruins took another hit Thursday as Zach Senyshyn will miss the next four weeks with a lower-body injury.
Senyshyn joins Jake DeBrusk (lower-body), David Backes (upper-body), Karson Kuhlman (hairline tibia fracture), Kevan Miller (knee), John Moore (shoulder), Torey Krug (upper-body) and Brett Ritchie (upper-body) on the injured list. Only Ritchie remains a possibility to return this weekend.
The Bruins called Trent Frederic up from Providence to fill Senyshyn’s role. The former Wisconsin Badger didn’t tally a point in his 15 appearances with the big club last season.
Amidst their four-game losing streak, Senyshyn and Anders Bjork gave the Bruins a bit of a spark during that stretch. The Bruins could use more success from that Providence pipeline upon Frederic’s arrival.
“That’s one thing we take pride in is that guys can come in from Providence and make an impact,” forward Charlie Coyle said following Thursday’s practice. “Everyone’s capable of doing their job and [showcasing] a little more too. That says a lot about our depth and that’s a big strength of ours.”
Yes, the Bruins have a deep roster in both Boston and Providence. But that depth remains tested with the seemingly never-ending injury bug.
Frederic becomes the next example of next man up. He was in this position last season and had some decent moments — including his first career fight in his NHL debut — but struggled a bit in a bottom-six role.
The 2016 first-round selection didn’t tally a single point in 15 games with Boston last season. He hasn’t quite found the offensive production down in Providence in his second AHL season, tallying five points in 15 games. Yet, regardless of his stat lines, Frederic’s work ethic and versatility can only help the slumping and injury-plagued Bruins.
“I’ve been playing hard and I’ve been playing well,” Frederic said. “It hasn’t exactly gone my way the whole year, but I keep battling through it and playing hard every game.”
The Bruins have battled through some rough stretches before under Cassidy. They know they’ll need all hands on deck — from Bjork and Frederic to Coyle, the top line and everyone else — to right the ship and at least stop the proverbial bleeding.
Tim Rosenthal serves as the Managing Editor of Bruins Daily. He started contributing videos to the site in 2010 before fully coming on board during the Bruins' Stanley Cup run in 2011. His bylines over the last decade have been featured on Boston.com, FoxSports.com, College Hockey News, Patch and Inside Hockey. You can follow Tim on Twitter @_TimRosenthal.
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