It has been a topsy turvy season so far for the Boston Bruins.
On the heels of losing the club’s first home game this week against the Edmonton Oilers, the team won on the road for the first time in more than three weeks, beating the New Jersey Devils by a 5-2 score to bounce back in a Saturday matinee. The win relieved some pressure, which had escalated following the B’s blowing multiple leads against Connor McDavid and company.
Fans will always have their scapegoats, often pointing fingers at players who are easy to blame when things don’t go well. Derek Forbort is that low-hanging fruit in 2021-22, and it is understandable given that he’s the lone offseason acquisition on the blue line over the summer.
Against Edmonton, it was fan favorite Brandon Carlo who had a tough night, embodying the old “he giveth, he taketh away” biblical phrase by scoring his first of the season to give his team the lead, only to give the lead away with a miscue that ended up on Leon Draisaitl’s stick. The winning goal, also scored by Draisaitl, happened because of soft coverage by Carlo.
So, you see, Boston’s blue line inconsistencies are not simply limited to one player.
There are multiple factors we can point to in the early going. With a schedule that has seen them play the fewest number of games in the Atlantic Division, it has been tough for the Bruins players and coaches to be able to get into a regular rhythm to work out the kinks. The schedule is a condition, and one that will be remedied eventually with 16- and 18-game months in December and January.
The real challenges for Boston’s blue line and getting more positive production lie with the personnel and the systems. One of those can be addressed with relative ease, but the other will be a tougher equation to solve for GM Don Sweeney and his pro scouting staff as the season goes on.