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Boston Bruins Facing ‘Really Good Test’ With Next Stretch

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Tampa, FL – The Boston Bruins made some slight adjustments to their forward group during this weekend’s win over the Chicago Blackhawks, and it looks like they’ll be sticking with that to start in Florida. It won’t be major lineup adjustments, though, as the Boston Bruins know they might be looking at their toughest pocket of the season after setting records with their start leading up to Thanksgiving.

Taylor Hall has been moved to the third line with Trent Frederic and Charlie Coyle to give that line some offensive flair with a bunch of big bodies capable of playing the puck possession game as well. It could also be to perk up Hall’s offensive game just a little bit as he has just two goals in nine games during the month of November while boasting a respectable 12 points in 16 games this season.

“With [Jim Montgomery] he’s not afraid to shuffle lines within games and it’s nice because you get to play with everyone,” said Hall. “You get shifts with different guys, so it’s not like when he shifted in the third period that I haven’t played with Coyle or Frederic. We’ve had shifts together, so it speaks to our depth and overall strength at forward.”

Even more, though, the Boston Bruins are looking forward to getting “a really good test” on the road with the Tampa Bay Lightning after roaring out to an epic 16-2-0 start through their first 18 games this season.

The Bolts obviously need little introduction as back-to-back Stanley Cup champs and a hockey team that’s been to the Stanley Cup Final in each of the last three seasons. So even if the NHL salary cap has taken a chunk out of the Bolts and the Lightning are looking way up at the Black and Gold in the Atlantic Division standings this season, both the B’s and the Bolts are juiced up for their first meeting of the season.

“This is a really good test. We’ve played a lot of home games this year and this is a building that always gives us a good test. We want that,” said Hall. “I think at this point in our schedule our next seven opponent we’re looking at are all really good hockey teams that could conceivably win a Stanley Cup this year.

“And all teams that have had really good seasons prior to this, so that’s a challenge that we’re really looking forward to It’s great to win 6-1 and everything, but we want to test our mettle and face some adversity and see what we’re made of. We know we’re going to face those situations.”

As Hall alluded to, the Boston Bruins are just entering an extremely challenging stretch that includes a road trip through Florida against the Lightning and Panthers, a Black Friday showdown with the Carolina Hurricanes team that beat them in the playoffs last spring and then home-and-home games against the Colorado Avalanche along with the return of Bruce Cassidy and the Vegas Golden Knights sandwiched in there as well.

Oh, and they’ve also got a home date against the Tampa Bay Lightning squeezed in there as well.

So the Boston Bruins should get tested after getting off to a fantasy start to their regular season wth two losses in 18 tries, and that will be a very good things for a hockey club that hasn’t truly faced adversity that’s buckled them quite yet. It’s important that any team goes through that as they’re developing their team identity and that’s something the B’s might be staring in the face starting Monday night in Tampa Bay.

Joe Haggerty has covered the Boston Bruins and the NHL for 18 years with NBC Sports Boston, WEEI.com, the Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times, and currently serves as lead Bruins reporter and columnist for Boston Hockey Now. Haggs always strives to capture the spirt of the thing any way that he can.

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