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    All-Centennial Team

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    Stanley Cup Champs

    Nine more games, do or die for the Bruins

    Photo via Scott Audette, Getty Images

    After a disastrous road trip where the Bruins lost to the Ottawa Senators 6-4, to the Florida Panthers 2-1 in a shootout, and 5-3 to the Lightning on Sunday, it is officially full on panic mode in Boston. Ottawa defeated San Jose on Monday night 5-2 to move ahead of the Bruins for the 2nd wild card spot, and the Sens hold a game in hand. 

    The last two weeks have been the perfect storm for a Bruins' late season collapse:

    - Ottawa wins seven in a row
    - The Bruins lose four in a row with the low point being a shootout loss to bottom feeder-Buffalo on St. Patrick's Day. 
    - Dougie Hamilton leaves Saturday's game against Florida with an undisclosed injury and doesn't play Sunday in Tampa
    - David Krejci still remains out of the lineup for the time being
    - The remaining defensive core of Chara, Seidenberg, McQuaid, etc are getting roasted (perfect example being JT Brown's goal on Sunday). 
    - Tuukka is clearly exhausted from the gigantic work load put on his shoulders (as seen Sunday in Tampa)

    To put it simply, things are just an absolute mess right now for the Bruins. They are unraveling. They cannot put the puck in the net, never mind keep it out of their own. Its hard to really put any of the blame on Tuukka Rask. When your team isn't scoring and your team is giving away the puck in your own end, all of the pressure gets put on your goalie. 

    The Bruins need to score more goals, thats obvious. But its the little things that they need to clean up in order to overcome this hole they have put themselves in. Now that Chiarelli has extended Reilly Smith for three years, he simply just has to pick up his play. Its incredible how bad he has been recently for the Bruins. The turnover he had in Ottawa on Thursday that led to the Pageau goal was atrocious. Maybe taking him off the power play, scratching him for a couple of games, or putting him on a different line will do the trick but right now it is clear that this guy is not a top-6 forward on this team. Maybe they can trade him for a bag of pucks in the off season because that seems more useful then him being on this team right now. 

    Getting Hamilton back healthy and quick is essential to the Bruins being able to succeed and compete with Ottawa for the 8th spot. Chara and Seidenberg just don't have the legs. You need Hamilton back as soon as possible because a ridiculous amount of pressure is on Tory Krug to keep the Bruins in it defensively. 

    Right now Ottawa is extremely hot, and the Bruins are looking up at them in the standings. The Bruins are going to need some help from other teams and have Ottawa lose a couple in order to get in. And while Ottawa is losing the Bruins need to pick it up and win, and that is going to be extremely difficult as 7 of the remaining 9 games the Bruins have are against playoff caliber teams, including playing the Panthers twice.  

    Its time for the core of this team (Bergeron, Marchand, Lucic) to do their jobs. They need to give Tuukka some offensive support. Hopefully the Bruins use this four day rest between games to get their heads in gear as well as getting Hamilton able to suit up Thursday against Anaheim. It is going to be an absolute battle to get into the post season with the way Ottawa is playing and with the Panthers right on the Bruins' tale. Its grind time. No more mistakes can be made.

    Stats via nhl.com

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