The Bruins have been given today off. They will kick off a four-game homestand Monday against Ottawa.
With no practice and no media availability, here’s the latest version of Plus/Minus:
+ Patrice Bergeron’s good health. Bergeron skated hard Saturday morning in Raleigh. Bergeron should return during the homestand, perhaps as early as Monday. But the best sign was a smiling Bergeron, proclaiming himself fit and feeling good. Bergeron is as good a person as you’ll find in pro sports.
+ Gregory Campbell’s performance in elevated role. With Bergeron unavailable for the last six games, Campbell had to assume greater responsibilities. Campbell hit all his marks. Campbell’s scoring streak ended last night, but he helped to set up the first goal with his forechecking and wall work. The Bruins will be stronger when Campbell returns to his normal position, butthe gritty center did an excellent job in a top-six role.
+ The impending arrival of Carl Soderberg. The forward will travel to Boston on Tuesday. It’s an event that’s been anticipated for more than five years.
– Milan Lucic’s quiet game. Lucic snapped his nine-game goal-scoring drought Saturday night. But Lucic is still chasing the game and fighting himself. Lucic can’t find his rhythm and seems mystified by how his game has gone missing. Don’t see a lack of effort, but simply a player who’s lost his confidence and doesn’t have many things to feel good about. Lucic has to work himself through this slump. He’s too important to his team.
– Shift-to-shift inconsistency. This has been a problem for several weeks. The Bruins can’t gain any rhythm because they don’t know what they’re going to get from each line. They’re at their best when four lines are rolling smoothly. Instead, they’re sputtering.
– Too much thinking. Mentally, the Bruins are tired. They play like they’re overprocessing each sequence. When that happens, they hesitate and make mistakes. Players are successful when they play instinctively.