On the one hand the Bruins' three-game losing streak is the longest of their season. All things considered, a lot of teams would love that to be the case for them. On the other, that three game losing streak is a small part of what has been an overall mediocre three months that has seen the Bruins' lead in the Northeast division dwindle down to just one point over the Ottawa Senators.
Looking lost and severely wounded the Bruins arrive in Sunrise to complete the second half of their Florida trip to take on a Panthers team looking to fend off their own rivals.
Head Coach Claude Julien announced that Tim Thomas will start in net tonight making it his eighth start in the last ten games, though he has seen significant minutes in the games he did not start as well including an awful period in relief of Marty Turco Tuesday in Tampa.
In his last five games Thomas has allowed 14 goals, half of those coming in the first period. Part of that is the team in front of him, who has strayed away from the defense first mentality of Julien's system. But a lot of that is also on the shoulders of Thomas who has gone 4-5 with an .879 save percentage in his last ten games and heading into his 11th straight. Realistically, Thomas could use an extended rest but with Turco proving there was a reason he's been out the NHL for a year there are no other options in net.
That in essence is what seems to be ailing the Bruins the most, lack of options. And with the lack of options Julien is going back to basics.
Tyler Seguin will return to to Patrice Bergeron's wing and Jordan Caron will move up to the top line, while practice and the morning skate were focused on bringing back the defensive structure. Chances are we'll be seeing less pinches in the offensive zone and more layers in the defensive. Things that will matter more with the absence of Adam McQuaid who is still day-to-day and will likely miss tonight's game.
Florida is also fighting off a rapid pack in the Southeast. They're coming off a two game winning streak and are still fighting off Washington and Winnipeg. Leading Scorer Kris Versteeg is still fighting injure and will miss tonight's game.
It took a three game losing strength to snap the Bruins' October slump so perhaps it will happen again, though one thing remains certain: the Bruins have to secure themselves and keep afloat until they return to full health so hopes are they'll leave Florida with two points and no injuries.