If they're coasting into the break, okay fine whatever. They've earned that right by playing out of their minds for the first half of the season. Rest up and get ready for the intense second half schedule.
But it does seem like Jake DeBrusk's absence is being felt. The team doesn't have much RW depth after Pastrnak, who looked awful tonight. Hall was obviously uncomfortable on his off-wing and similarly has been playing poorly. Smith seems thoroughly mediocre.
A big part of the reason why they’re so good is the mismatches that happen when Hall can play with Coyle. Not having DeBrusk available to play with Bergeron & Marchand is a big loss against the better teams.
I think they’re running on fumes as opposed to coasting to the break. I’m fairly confident that if Carolina had played say, The Rangers on Thursday, then the Islanders at 6:00 last night, then had to come to play the Bruins, who were off Saturday and sitting home after a Friday night home game against San Jose, the score would have been reversed.
And I’m not excuse making, every team deals with injuries and tough parts of the schedule, and they don’t play .850 hockey during those stretches. That’s why it’s such an advantage that they did play .850 hockey for so long.