Bruins Gets Homesick

Wayne Whittaker@@WayneTwittakerCorrespondent IFebruary 23, 2009

“We’ve got to work our way back to where we were," Claude Julien admitted while addressing the media after Boston's disappointing loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Most Bruins' fans would consider the coach's sentiment as an understatement.

After wrapping up a five-game road trip with a pitiful 1-3-1 record, Boston returns to the Garden on Tuesday night to try and avenge their shutout loss to Florida last week.

Coach Julien's level-headed leadership may be keeping the B's squad from reaching for the 'panic' button.

“Our guys competed hard tonight. I don’t think anybody’s going to dispute that we were the better team out there tonight. If the effort is there like (that) night after night, then I think we’ll get back on track, and that’s what we’re looking for,” Julien elaborated.


The Numbers Game

If there are lessons to learn from this road trip, they may be hidden within the stat sheets.

The Bruins were outscored 11-10 on the trip. However, most of Boston's scoring came in the 5-1 rout of Carolina.

The B's lost by an average of 1.25 goals.

Boston scored only three goals on 84 shots this weekend.

The Bruins were shutout twice in eight days.

The Bruins are 5-for-47 on the power play in the last 12 games.


Time to Regroup

The B's are back in Boston for a six-game homestand, before traveling to New York on March 8.

Chances are that Boston will be bringing a new member on the road for the first time when they visit Madison Square Garden.

General manager Peter Chiarelli has hinted towards a trade before the deadline and was quoted saying that there is a "75 percent" chance of a trade before the March 4 deadline.

We've all heard the rumors. We know that Boston is looking for depth, experience, and a left-handed shot for the power play. Look for Chiarelli to opt for a rental as the B's try to make a push for the Stanley Cup.


Dents and Scratches

Marco Sturm's absence has become very apparent as of late, especially with the current power-play struggles. However, the Bruins could be getting a major weapon back into the lineup as soon as Tuesday night.

Michael Ryder has been cleared to play after missing seven games with a facial fracture received on the Feb. 5 against Ottawa.

Petteri Nokelainen has been absent from the lineup since the Feb. 10 game against San Jose. Although Bruins fans shouldn't expect much boost in the offense when he returns, as Nokelainen has yet to score a goal this season.


Looking Forward

This is a crucial obstacle for Boston. They haven't been playing their best hockey, yet they still sit at the top of the standings in the Eastern Conference. But they won't be for long if this slide continues.

And they know that.

Boston still has a 19-point lead on Montreal for the Northeast Division. That's basically where the cushion ends.

Washington is now only seven points behind Boston and New Jersey is just behind them, trailing by nine points.

San Jose has reclaimed the NHL's top spot, but cling to a one-point lead over Boston.

All good teams hit bumps. It's how they respond to them that sets the elite teams apart.

With the home crowd behind them, the Bruins have a chance to regain momentum heading into the season's last quarter.  All the "bad" bounces that happen in the course of a game have been working against the B's as of late, but if the effort continues to be strong, perhaps luck will soon turn their way.


    Flyers Force a Game Six vs. Penguins

    NHL logo

    Flyers Force a Game Six vs. Penguins

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    Matthews, Crosby Top List of NHL's Best-Selling Jerseys

    NHL logo

    Matthews, Crosby Top List of NHL's Best-Selling Jerseys

    via FanSided

    Bruins Now: Tuukka Rask, B’s Put Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs On Brink

    Boston Bruins logo
    Boston Bruins

    Bruins Now: Tuukka Rask, B’s Put Auston Matthews, Maple Leafs On Brink

    Andre Khatchaturian

    Boston Bruins Patrice Bergeron Back on the Ice, Questionable for Game 5

    Boston Bruins logo
    Boston Bruins

    Boston Bruins Patrice Bergeron Back on the Ice, Questionable for Game 5

    Ben Kerr
    via Last Word on Hockey