At the conclusion of their season-opening, three-game homestand, the Boston Bruins have outscored their opponents, 5-4, yet hold a subpar 1-2-0 record.
That contrast in columns speaks to how inconsistent and out of sync the defending champions are in their first week after (ostensibly) turning the page. The fact they opened the season with a homestand of odd-numbered games, ran it on a loss-win-loss pattern, and finished it off with a Columbus Day setback to Colorado evokes memories of the rocky 2009-10 campaign.
As Sean Linden from the Slap Shot sequel might say, there is “still a whole lot of hockey to be played, son.” But by the same token, a gross multitude of Bruins could stand to use the upcoming 79 games to turn things around in a hurry. They must return to championship-caliber form and forget they were Stanley Cup champions four months ago.
The five players to watch the closest for improvement, starting with Wednesday night’s road opener in Carolina, are as follows.