After tearing through the month of October (9-1-2), the Boston Bruins are suddenly owners of a four-game losing streak and are just 2-2-2 in November as they head to Toronto for another big Atlantic Division tilt. Even worse, the Bruins watched a 4-0 third period lead dissipate in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Florida Panthers at TD Garden this past Tuesday. While their mistakes and poor play may have been disguised by winning before, they were glaring in that third period against the Panthers and the Bruins are ready to correct their overall game at Toronto Friday night and then back in Boston against the Washington Capitals on Saturday night.
“It’s hard to win in this league and when you do, sometimes it can mask some other things that are slipping into your game,” forward Charlie Coyle said following practice Thursday. “We’ve started to address it, but things happen. It’s never a perfect year. I think it’s good to go through some ups and downs – not that you want to, but I think it helps when you overcome that and come together as a team.
You’ve got to go through that to get better. That’s what we’re kind of using it as, but we’ve got to get back on track here. It starts with our practice today. We had a good practice out there and that kind of gets our mind right and get ready to go tomorrow against a good team. It’s a good opportunity for us to get back on track.”
Frederic Recalled, Senyshyn (Lower Body) Out Four Weeks
Prior to practice Tuesday, the Bruins announced that rookie forward Zach Senyshyn suffered a lower-body injury and will miss at least four weeks before being reevaluated. To fill his spot on a Bruins roster that is already missing four right wings now with Senyshyn joining David Backes (upper-body), Brett Ritchie (upper-body) and Karson Kuhlman (hairline tibia fracture), the Bruins called up forward Trent Frederic from the Providence Bruins (AHL). Frederic, who has five assists in 15 games with Providence but is yet to register a point in 15 NHL games (all last season), was thrilled to get the call back to the show.
“It was nice today, you get to skate more, open up more,” said Frederic. “I’m excited to get the opportunity here on the wing. I don’t think too many [adjustments will be needed]. The way the system is, the first guy back you’re low anyways…it’s really not that big of an adjustment for me.”
With another injury, head coach Bruce Cassidy was forced to do some line shuffling again and as he pointed out, he had to be careful where he placed everyone.
“The hand we’ve been dealt right now is we have a lot of right wingers out,” said Cassidy. “We’ve talked about Anders [Bjork] staying on the left side. We don’t want to mess with that, he’s played well there. We want to keep him on the left side. That means Danton [Heinen] has to move, who’s played the right side. I’ve talked about it before, the other thing I like about him, is he can move around. He’s got a good hockey IQ, he can figure out what a line needs and fit in. He’s done it on every line on this team. That’s the reasoning.”
In terms of injury updates, defenseman John Moore (shoulder) skated in a red (non-contact) jersey with his teammates Thursday but Kevan Miller (knee) did not. Both defensemen and all other injured players – including defenseman Torey Krug – will not be with the team in Toronto but Cassidy did say that Ritchie could play Saturday against the Capitals.
Tuukka Rask will get the nod between the pipes in Toronto and Jaro Halak will face his former team, the Caps on Saturday.
Here’s what the lineup should look like for the third meeting with the Leafs:
Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak
Anders Bjork – David Krejci – Charlie Coyle
Trent Frederic – Par Lindholm – Danton Heinen
Joakim Nordstrom – Sean Kuraly – Chris Wagner
Zdeno Chara – Charlie McAvoy
Matt Grzelcyk – Brandon Carlo
Urho Vaakanainen – Connor Clifton