Last night in Boston, another team rolled into TD Garden and opened the floodgates against the Bruins.
This time, it was the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets.
“Our defensive game needs to be better,” Bruins defenseman Joe Morrow said after the 6-4 loss. “Just whatever curse we have at home where we can’t seem to find the energy or get the tempo of our game up, it just has to change sooner than later and we don’t have the time to turn it around. It’s pretty unacceptable.”
If last night had been a one-off, no problem, the Bruins could’ve just regrouped for Wednesday’s game against Pittsburgh.
But it wasn’t. Far from it. In fact, it was the 12th time this season that the Bruins had allowed at least four goals at home. Included among those was a 9-2 drubbing by the Kings and a 5-1 no-show versus Montreal in the Winter Classic.
Of course, the B’s have also had their share of good days. Like Saturday’s 7-3 win in Dallas, for example. That was Boston’s 11th win by three goals or more. Only six other teams have more of those than that.
So, interesting times for GM Don Sweeney, who has until Monday to decide what to do with pending unrestricted free agent Loui Eriksson.
If Eriksson is traded to a contender — and that’s the kind of team that’s going to be most interested, presumably — it’s unlikely that team is going to want to give up anything significant from its current roster. Which would mean the Bruins lose a guy with 23 goals and 25 assists for a return that, hopefully, will help them in the future, but is unlikely to help them in the playoffs, assuming they get there.
The best-case scenario for the B’s would probably be to re-sign Eriksson, but — given we’re talking about a 30-year-old that’s played over 700 NHL games — not for longer than three or four years.
Whether Eriksson would agree to a shorter term remains to be seen. He’d need an incentive to avoid hitting the open market. Perhaps the B’s could take a cue from the Jets, who were able to keep Dustin Byfuglien’s term to five years, but only because they gave him $7.6 million per season.
Though considering the state of Boston’s defense, that cap space may be better used elsewhere.