The Bruins are playing okay hockey. They’re doing great, don’t get me wrong, standing 14-3-3 so far. But it’s not satisfying play. Case and point being Tuesday’s game where they were up three after the first period and managed to lose in overtime against the Capitals. The Washington Capitals, who are tied for last in the conference. Really Bruins?
If I’m being honest I wasn’t surprised we lost. The Bruins have this nasty habit of taking on the worst teams in the league and then losing. It’s not a new thing.
What is surprising however, is the lack of results being pushed out by the Bruins third line. Chris Kelly, Rich Peverley, and Chris Bourque make up the line that is currently holding the worst +/- stats of the whole team.
Peverley has a devastating -8, Kelly with a -7, both with only one goal apiece in 20 games. These two players came up huge in the cup run with Michael Ryder on their wing in 2011, and in the 11-12 season with Benoit Pouliot they were able to find the net. Kelly was on the ice Tuesday night for all three of the Capital’s goals, finishing -3, Pevs and Bourque not much better, both -2 at the end of that game.
Chris Bourque is doing the best of the trio with a -6 so far this season (the next is Thornton’s -4), who has only netted a single goal as well. Three goals in total with a combined -21 for a line that is supposed to be defense minded? Something had to give.
Over the last few games we’ve seen Claude Julien playing around with this line, throwing Daniel Paille up into the mix, and sitting Bourque a game. Both moves showed minimal effect, and it’s clear that the Bruins want to make a change. The Bruins need to find a player that can click on this third line, and play solid two-way hockey.
Unfortunately they don’t think Chris Bourque is going to be that player. Bourque was placed on waivers this afternoon, with the intention of returning him to the AHL.
“[Bourque] was stepping in for a guy [in Benoit Pouliot] that had 17 goals last season… Sometimes chemistry doesn’t start off the hop. We just have to keep working hard. I feel bad for [Bourque]. He’s coming into a tough spot and we haven’t played well. And his linemates haven’t played well. It’s [expletive] the way it is. That’s the way it’s going right now.” – Rich Peverley.
The Coach expects to change the lines around again tonight, in search of a good fit for the third line. Hopefully after having the day off yesterday the Bruins will come back hungry to win and get over this unfortunate patch.
The game tonight is against the Toronto Maple Leafs who are 15-9-0 with a three game win streak, looking for a forth. The Leafs are always fun to ply with familiar face Phil Kessel returning to the Garden. Peverley has a good record against the Leafs, maybe we’ll see him step up tonight, and if Bourque plays maybe he will step up as he was the only one to net a goal in the 1-0 win back at the beginning of February. A more in depth game preview can be found here.