Fair or not, Bruce Cassidy was forthcoming about the high standard placed upon his defensive corps.
At this point, barring a trade for some punch up front, this team is what it is. A one-line club that relies far too heavily on its potent power play to rescue it from 5v5 futility.
The organization’s decision to embrace the youth movement this summer has largely backfired, especially up front — with players like Danton Heinen, Ryan Donato, Anders Bjork and many more either taking massive steps back in their production or finding themselves on the shelf due to injury.
Thursday’s OT loss to the Flyers — Boston’s third-straight defeat on home ice and its fifth loss in its last six outings — was more of the same when it came to the B’s expected scoring output. Once again, the top line of Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand did the heavy lifting, with Pastrnak accounting for both of Boston’s tallies on the night.
This has been pretty much the hand that Boston’s blue line has been dealt. Given the club’s scoring woes at 5v5 play and a dearth of secondary scoring, two goals are going to be what this D corps is going to have to work with most nights if this club wants to come away with two points.
That’s just the reality of the situation for the 2018-19 Bruins — a team with plenty of tangible talent and potential, but hamstrung by an offense that ranks 18th in the league at 2.88 goals scored per game, and 27th overall in 5v5 goals (51).
That puts an absurd amount of weight on a Bruins defense that, despite losing key contributors to injury for most of the season, has still managed to rank ninth in terms of the fewest goals allowed per game at 2.63.
If Boston wants to stay afloat in the Eastern Conference, it’s going to need its defense — finally healthy for the first time in months — to go above and beyond to grind out wins.
Given what we already know about these Bruins, it should come as no surprise that this recent losing skid has featured a concerning amount of miscues on the blue line – blemishes against a unit that Cassidy and his staff know can’t be pedestrian, given the circumstances.
Boston’s bench boss made that abundantly clear following Thursday’s loss.