For roughly the last 72 hours, a fraction of the Boston Bruins’ fanbase hit the panic button. Perhaps their first slump of the season justified their takes of the B’s getting a reality check following their first skid of a historic 50-game stretch.
Amid the noise from social media and sports radio, the battle-tested Bruins aren’t panicking.
“I think that’s why we had the success that we’ve had is that we don’t panic. Whether it’s in-game, whether it’s a couple of games that haven’t gone our way, we’re able to focus and nip it in the bud right away. That’s the sign of a good team,” forward Charlie Coyle said following Tuesday’s practice at Warrior Ice Arena.
“We’ve got a great leadership group that sets that tone and sets that standard. So that’s something we want to do here. Today was a good first step, going over some video and talking about things we need to do better, and put it to good use.”
Boston’s power play stagnated with an 0-for-12 run during its three losses to the Lightning, Panthers and Hurricanes. The 0-for-6 showing in Carolina only magnified their issues as they struggled to gain clean entries against an aggressive Hurricanes forecheck during their third road game in four days and the second of a back-to-back.
The rare third-period lulls during their Florida swing resulted in their first set of back-to-back losses. The opportunistic Lightning got the better of the Bruins to snap their five-game skid following a rare defensive breakdown from the second pairing of Brandon Carlo and Hampus Lindholm en route to Victor Hedman’s go-ahead marker. Two nights later, they failed to get one more clear in the defensive end — after David Pastrnak gave the Bruins a 4-3 lead with under a minute left — succumbing to a 5-4 setback on Aleksander Barakov’s tying marker with 1.4 ticks left and Sam Reinhart’s winner 17 ticks into overtime.
Now the Bruins face their first test of adversity. And they’ve welcomed this bout with open arms entering their final pre-All-Star break tilt against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
If anything, Tuesday’s practice in Brighton provided encouraging signs for head coach Jim Montgomery.
“I think adversity only makes you better. I truly believe that. You fail in life, you get up, and you get stronger, and you get better,” Montgomery said. “I think by the way we practiced today I was very encouraged by our group’s mentality.”
From the Winter Classic to third-period thrillers and everything in between, the Bruins earned spectacular triumphs en route to their otherworldly 38-7-5 record. Frankly, they were overdue for a slump.
Even during their historic run, the confident Bruins knew they’d eventually face a rough multi-game stretch during the 82-game slate. They still have a chance to surpass the legendary 1976-77 Canadeins’ record-breaking 132-point season. But that remains a secondary goal for Brad Marchand and the Bruins in their quest to hoist their first Stanley Cup in 12 seasons.
“Listen, we’re not that good. We’re good, but not that good. We’re not going to run through this league, and we never thought that for a second,” Marchand said. “We could win every game. But if we don’t win in the playoffs, then it doesn’t mean anything.”
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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