BOSTON (CBS) — The regular season is winding down for the Boston Bruins, and they’ll likely start resting their veterans ahead of the NHL playoffs.
But while a few veterans could use a breather, Boston would really like to get one of their young players going. Forward Reilly Smith started hot in his first season with the Bruins, scoring nine goals in December alone, but he has just one goal in the last 25 games. On Thursday night, Claude Julien switched things up a bit and dropped Smith from the second to third line, bumping Loui Eriksson up alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Bruins play-by-play man Dave Goucher joined Toucher & Rich on Friday, and said getting Smith going for the players is very important for Boston.
“They have to sort it out for Riley Smith. It’s dried up for him; he’s scored one goal in 25 games. I asked Claude Julien about [switching Smith and Eriksson] before the Detroit game and his response was the line had still been scoring, and more specifically Patrice Bergeron,” said Goucher. “They have to figure out a solution.
“I have to hope he’s just a young guy that has hit a wall here in the latter part of the season, and maybe they find a way to get some jump back into his game,” said Goucher. “He was so good early but it’s a different story lately, and they’re going to need him to be more of a factor when they get into the playoffs.”
As for resting veterans, Goucher is a little surprised that only Jarome Iginla has received a night off, and that was described as a night off for a “lower body injury.”
“Maybe it happens this week; I thought it would happen by now to be honest,” said Goucher. “They have a trip after going to Philadelphia where they go to Minnesota and Winnepeg. Maybe they leave a guy behind; the usual suspects, Chara, Bergeron, Krejci, Lucic and Iginla, and maybe a guy like Smith to give him a break.
“I’m a little surprised it hasn’t happened yet, but I know they were fearful of starting it too early,” added Goucher, “so I think they didn’t want to do it too soon.”
Goucher also shares his thoughts on the last two Bruins losses, a couple questionable calls from Thursday night in Toronto:
MORE SPORTS COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON