The Boston Bruins' recent slide has put them in danger of falling out of the top spot in the Northeast Division for the first time in several months.
The Montreal Canadiens thrashed Minnesota by an 8-1 score Sunday to climb ti within one point of idle Boston. They next play the Buffalo Sabres and could grab first place by Tuesday evening if the B's stumble against the surging New Jersey Devils.
The B's picked a bad time to play as poorly as they did on Saturday, not only missing out on two points, but giving Toronto a decisive win to move them up in the standings. The Bruins looked listless, while Toronto took it to Boston.
Some circles are clamoring for a coaching change, but the season is past the point for that to pay off. The team has proven it can win games and beat the top teams in the NHL (Detroit being the exception), so firing the coach is not the answer right now. Of course, how the team does in the playoffs will ultimately determine whether Claude Julien returns next season. The inconsistency is certainly troubling, and the Bruins GM may have no choice but to make a move if the team continues to swoon or bows out in the 1st or 2nd round of the postseason again.
This is a critical week for the Bruins: with 11 games left in the season, they must not only get back on track to keep Montreal at bay (they will fall to 6th in the conference if they lose hold on the Northeast) but also to get their confidence going if they have any realistic hope of advancing in the playoffs.
Character test, and a big one for Boston. They need more from everyone on the roster, top to bottom.
And that's the commentary. Now for the pick update as of 21 March:
2011 Boston Bruins draft picks 6 total picks plus one pending conditional 7th from FLA)
9th overall- Toronto (74 points; 32-31-10)- Completes Phil Kessel trade.
42nd overall- Minnesota (78 points;35-30-8)- Completes Chuck Kobasew trade.
83rd overall- Phoenix (89 points; 39-24-11) - Completes Derek Morris trade.
115th overall- Boston (88 points; 39-22-10)
145th overall- Boston
175th overall- Boston
185th overall- Florida (conditional 68 pts; 29-33-10)- Jeff LoVecchio, Jordan Knackstedt to Panthers for Sean Zimmerman, cond. 7th
Traded Picks- 2011 (4 Boston 2011 picks traded in Rounds 1-3, 7)
25th overall- Boston pick Traded to Toronto for Tomas Kaberle
55th overall- Boston pick Traded to Ottawa for Chris Kelly
85th overall Boston pick traded to Florida; Completes Nathan Horton deal
205th overall Boston pick traded to Chicago (Zach Trotman)
Boston Bruins 2012 Draft Picks
2nd- Traded to TOR; conditional: If BOS makes Stanley Cup final or Kaberle re-signed, pick goes to Leafs