The Bruins got a day off in Montreal yesterday, and to say the players earned it would be the understatement of the year. The B’s will face the Canadiens tonight at what likely will be an unusually subdued Bell Centre. The locals will be watching two teams headed in opposite directions: The Canadiens looking as though they’ve more or less given up on the season, and the visitors cruising through the NHL like men against boys. The numbers are fairly remarkable, especially for a Bruins team that, because of injuries and inexperience, was 6-7-4 through the first 17 games. The B’s 5-2 win Thursday in New York against the Islanders pushed their streak of earning at least one point to 15 games (11-0-4). They are 14-1-4 in the last 19 outings; 20-3-4 over the past 27. With the outcome against the Islanders all but assured after two periods, and because his team was playing the tail end of a back-to-back, coach Bruce Cassidy spread ice time around pretty evenly. Up front, Sean Kuraly, for instance, played only 23 seconds fewer than Patrice Bergeron, who used his 15:39 very well — registering his second hat trick in less than two weeks. “Well, you hope it helps us in the long run,” said Cassidy of spreading the responsibility around. “For the moment, it’s good for the group to know that, ‘Hey, the coach trusts me to play against (Islanders star John) Tavares or whoever.’ I’m not going to be looking for matchups from start to finish. We’ve talked about that. We want certain ones (matchups), and we’re certainly going to be leaning toward certain ones. But we’re not going to be married to them. I think that’s as important as the actual minutes. But it does save wear and tear, and hopefully we’re fresher for it (tonight).” Cassidy and Co. may soon have a difficult decision to make on ice time. Presumably defenseman Kevan Miller, out two games with illness, will be available before long. Adam McQuaid took Miller’s spot in the lineup after waiting a while since recovering from a broken leg and played quite well in the back-to-backs, so it’s hard to see him coming right back out. Rookie Matt Grzelcyk has been a big plus, too, on the back line. So if Miller goes in, who comes out? Maybe the obvious candidate is Brandon Carlo, who this season has struggled at times, been better lately but committed a costly turnover to hand the Islanders their first goal. The B’s brass doesn’t want to do anything to hurt Carlo’s state of mind, so it’s a tough call.
Bruins have some pleasant problems ahead of them
Boston Herald | Jan 20