Hockey is a sport of routine, structure and respect above all else, and so much of what the NHL is based on has been challenged during this 48-game shortened regular season. Practices were few and far between once the schedule grew heavier for NHL teams, and teams struggled to maintain any semblance of normalcy while playing as many as 17 games in a month.

The Boston Bruins certainly fit into that category while struggling to a 2-5-2 record in their final nine games while averaging only two goals per game. They built up a gaudy record in the first half of the year based on a favorable schedule, but there was also a nagging feeling even then that the Bruins weren’t playing up to their expected capabilities.

“We didn’t perform to the way we were capable of performing on a number of different fronts. It was good that we had a strong start, and that we were able to finish where we finished,” said Peter Chiarelli. “But if I’m going to judge our team on the latter half of the year, I’m going to have to say that we’re going to really have to step up our performance to have success in the playoffs.”

The same statement about “stepping up” could be said for just about every other team around the NHL.

There were few teams outside the Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks and Pittsburgh Penguins that truly felt good about their performance in this most irregular of regular seasons.

Otherwise there have been challenges on a daily basis that have faced every team as they tried to muster the energy, healthy bodies and skating legs to provide a representative performance. Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli admitted that he engaged in more conversations with head coach Claude Julien than in past years as they put out fires and tackled problems that kept cropping up on a daily basis.