Their current 3-7-0 mark is their worst record through 10 games since the 1999-2000 campaign, when they also managed just six points with a 1-5-4 record. Even Dave Lewis managed eight points through 10 games in his lone disastrous season behind the Boston bench with a 3-5-2 mark in 2006-07.
But while the Bruins haven't stumbled this badly out of the gates in recent memory, they have had plenty of experience dealing with adversity in recent years.
They overcame daunting two-game deficits at the start of both their opening-round series with Montreal and the Stanley Cup Final with Vancouver last spring. They also snapped out of a pre-Christmas funk last season and turned around a 10-game losing streak in January 2010 in time to make the playoffs that year.
Now they hope to draw upon those experiences to dig themselves out of their current hole.
"I think we learned our lesson last year in the playoffs about not looking ahead," Bruins center Gregory Campbell said. "We were in some tough holes last year where a lot of people counted us out, but we focused on that next game and that's the same as our situation now. To string together a few wins and climb back into a playoff position starts only if you win the first game, so that's our goal right now."
Still, while the Bruins can look back at their past successes to inspire confidence, the current situation isn't quite the same.
"It's a lot different because it is the start of the year and it's not January like it was two years ago," Bruins forward Milan Lucic said. "We've shown character in what we've been able to do to get ourselves out of it and get on a roll and put ourselves into a position that we need to be in. That's something that we know that we have in this room. We've just got to go out there and apply it. Knowing it and saying it and talking about it is one thing, but going out there and doing it is another thing. And that's what we need to get back to doing."
And they have to do that quickly. Even with 72 games left to play, the ground they've already lost will be tough to make up.
"You always look back at things like this," Lucic said. "There's adversity that you have to face throughout the season and for us it's right now. We've got to figure it out quick. I know it's only 10 games, but how many teams have had starts like this and haven't been able to recover? I mean, you look at New Jersey last year who finished off so strong, probably the best team since January, and they weren't able to recover. We have to do everything we can to get out of this as quickly as possible."
The Devils were just 3-8-1 in October last year. They continued to struggle to the midway point of the season, and not even a 28-10-3 record in the second half of the season could get them in playoff contention. The Bruins' malaise hasn't lasted nearly as long (New Jersey was 10-29-2 on Jan. 8 before going on its second-half tear), but it doesn't take a slump that long to crush a team's postseason hopes.
Those 1999-2000 Bruins never recovered for their poor start, finishing last in the Northeast Division with 73 points despite winning six straight and going 11-2-1 after their nine-game winless streak to open the season. Lewis' 2006-07 squad also rattled off a 15-6-1 stretch in November and December and still finished last with 76 points thanks to its slow start and a disastrous 1-10-1 finish.
"It's a long season, however, we see how short it really becomes," Campbell said. "It's amazing how important each game is and how tough it is to climb back in this league now. I guess fortunately for us October's over. We can move on and close the door and start fresh and win some games. I guess our job is just to win the next game and not really focus on trying to get any other wins and trying to get back into a playoff position. Just focus on winning that next game and that's [Tuesday] night."
Teams can survive one slump and still reach the playoffs, as the Bruins proved in each of the last two years. But if they let the slide go too long, or fall into another skid, it can be too much to overcome. The Bruins can rise above this horrendous start, but they have to do it now. And they won't get any more mulligans this season.
"Every year you go through those kinds of things," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Every team is going to go through a rough patch at some point this year. Ours is right now unfortunately. We understand that this is our rough patch and we won't be able to have another one or we'll sink ourselves."