BOSTON — The Bruins continue the season-long search for their true identity Tuesday night when they get back to work at TD Garden against the Maple Leafs.

This team is nothing if not confounding. Just when you think the Bruins are moving in the right direction, they lose a winnable home game. And just when you think they’d be better off tanking for a better draft position, they rip off three or four straight.

And yet here they are, in position to secure a playoff spot in a mediocre Eastern Conference. Whether it all comes together by April so this team can give us an entertaining playoff run is anyone’s guess at this point. But with the stretch run about to start, we take a look back at the individual performances with the midterm report card.


Tuukka Rask: B

Since a bad first month, Rask has returned to form and could still get his season stats up to his career averages. But the first month still counts.

Jonas Gustavsson: A-

No, this is not to say that Gustavsson has been better than Rask or should be the No. 1 guy or any of that nonsense. But in going 9-3-1, he’s done his job as a backup very well, if not always artfully.


Zdeno Chara: B+

He’s not the same player he once was and he’s had some bad games, but his game hasn’t bottomed out nearly as badly as some would have you think. Just go back and watch the first couple of games of the season when he was out of the lineup to know just how bad this team would be without him. He leads D-corps in points (7-20-27) and plus minus (plus-9).

Torey Krug: B+

He still has his challenges on defense which he continues to battle, but he’s been as consistent as anyone on the back end. The Bruins need a few more goals from him, though.

Adam McQuaid: B+

When healthy, he’s been a very effective stay-at-home defenseman. The “when healthy” part has always been the big question with him.

Kevan Miller: B

A lightning rod for criticism for some reason, Miller has been OK for what’s expected of him. Some nights he’s been better than that.

Dennis Seidenberg: B-

Seidenberg’s not the shutdown presence he once was and he’s had some tough nights. But is it just a coincidence that the Bruins’ penalty kill started to go from bad to good when he returned to the lineup?

Colin Miller: B-

A promising prospect, Miller could be an electrifying player some day with his skating ability, shot and willingness to use his body. In his first NHL season, however, he’s trick-or-treat and still learning how to get his shot off and through.

Zach Trotman: C+

He’s earned two extended stays in the press box, but his game seems to be coming around lately. It helps playing with Chara.

Joe Morrow: Inc.

Haven’t seen enough in 18 games (1-2-3 totals, minus-5), though the Bruins may have.


Patrice Bergeron: A

On pace to match career highs in offensive production, he’s been the engine on the Bruins’ strong special-teams units. He is as consistently excellent as anyone in the league.

Brad Marchand: A-

He is poised to break the 30-goal plateau for the first time. Grade was dropped a notch for his untimely and avoidable suspension.

Loui Eriksson: A-

Eriksson’s had a strong all-around season, though his goal production has tailed off (two goals in last 17 games). It’s very possible he’ll be wearing a different uniform after Feb. 29.

David Krejci: A-

Krejci’s cooled off a bit after a strong start and hasn’t fully returned to form after missing 10 games. Still, it’s been a good bounce-back year.

Ryan Spooner: B+

Spooner has helped make the once moribund power-play dynamic. Lately he’s been bringing a new assertiveness to his five-on-five play.

Matt Beleskey: B

He’s well off his 22-goal pace of a year ago with Anaheim, but his physical, grinding style hasn’t changed. The Bruins have pretty much gotten what they paid for.

Tyler Randell: B

With just 20 games under his belt, the rugged winger could have gotten an incomplete but being in and out of the lineup is part of the job description. And he’s done his job well when he’s in there.

Landon Ferraro: C+

A waiver wire pickup, Ferraro was a welcome addition with his speed but hasn’t had a point in his last 16 games.

Brett Connolly: C

With the exception of scoring, Connolly’s done most everything else well. But scoring is a big part of the job description as the top line right wing.

Jimmy Hayes: C

He has 11 goals, which is about where you’d expect him to be. But he’s had too many nights in which he hasn’t been a factor.

Zac Rinaldo: C

He’s been OK, and the fourth line he was on with Ferraro and Max Talbot has promise if it can ever be reassembled. But his solid preseason gave the impression he was ready to provide more production.

Max Talbot: C-

He’s been waived twice and has had a pair of colossally bad minus-4 games. But he’s been a pro throughout the ups and downs, and he still has a chance to make a positive impact with that aforementioned fourth line.

Joonas Kemppainen: D

It’s been a tough first NHL season for the Finnish veteran, who has a team-low minus-11. His game hasn’t been good since returning from an upper body injury that kept him out a month. His saving grace is the fact that he is the only other centerman besides Bergeron who has done well on faceoffs (51 percent success rate).

David Pastrnak: Inc.

Due to a broken foot, it was a lost first half for the wing.


Claude Julien: A

There are open jobs throughout the lineup and players refuse to grab hold of them. Yet Julien has done a terrific job of juggling inconsistent performers and keeping the team in playoff position with 33 games to go. He needs 11 more victories to pass Art Ross for most career wins as a Bruins coach.

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