WILMINGTON, MA The last taste in the Bruins mouths from a trip to Florida was a little bit of a bitter one last season.
The swing through the Sunshine State came when things were falling apart for a tired Bruins bunch in the middle of March last season as they were swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers, and were outscored by a 12-3 margin over the course of those two hockey games.
That was in the middle of a stretch losing eight of 12 games for the Bruins when Tuukka Rask was lost to injury against the New York Islanders, and the bottom was dropping out as they prepped for the postseason.
The Lightning and Panthers are obviously different teams this season with both hockey clubs moving in different directions this year but the fact remains that Boston went 1-3 in four road games in sunny, welcoming Florida last season.
Of course the Bruins were also 6-2 in road games against the Panthers and Lightning over the previous two seasons, so theres that as well.
It could have been the time of the season or something like that, said Milan Lucic. Weve had other seasons where weve had a lot of success down there. It definitely is a little different getting ready for a game with the warmer weather, but we need to do whatever we need to do to have more success in the warmer weather this week.
Instead the Bruins are looking forward to a week on the road with the swing through Florida, Tampa and the New York Islanders that qualifies as their first real extended time away from TD Garden and Boston this season. For a team thats racked up some of the best road records in the Eastern Conference over the last three seasons, that is something that the Bruins actively welcome a month into the abbreviated NHL season.
Some of the Bruins are just happy they can put away the shovels for a week while traveling to a warmer part of the country. But theyll also need to be vigilant against a pair of teams in the Panthers and Lightning that are outside of the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and hungry to get back into the top eight teams in the East.
After what weve all been through these last two weeks with the snowstorm being cold around here, it will be nice to get some warm weather in and some Vitamin D, said Lucic. But even though thats a good thing we cant lose sight of what this trip is all about, and thats getting some wins in Florida. We have to enjoy our first true road trip where we get to spend some time together as a team, but the focus is playing some good, hard hockey so we can get some wins.
If the Bs are looking for motivation, however, they should just watch some game tapes from the back-to-back abominations they produced against Florida and Tampa in the middle of March last season while the second round of the Stanley Cup hangover was in full effect.