BOSTON - Where They Stand: Currently, the Bruins have one of the best records in the league, with the only close contender for the NHL’s best being the Washington Capitols. They are first in the Atlantic Division at 19-3-5 and have an astonishing 32 goal difference. The Bruins are an undeniable heavyweight in the league.
As for the Celtics, they have dropped down fourth in the Eastern Conference after holding onto first for a while. They’re still at a solid record at 13-5, good for just three games behind the first place Milwaukee Bucks, who are on an eleven game win streak.
Who’s Hurt?: The Bruins are on a six game win streak of their own, thanks to their ability to stay fairly healthy so far this year. Currently, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand are ailing with non-serious injuries. Kevan Miller is still a ways away from recovery. Aside from that, Jarsoalv Halak has been dealing with an illness, but the presence of Tuukka Rask comes in handy there. The Bruins don’t have major injuries, thankfully. Let’s hope it stays that way.
The Celtics are the ones with the major injuries. Gordon Hayward is still in recovery for his hand fracture and he’s expected to receive a consultation soon. Kemba Walker has returned from his scary head injury, but his status is also worth monitoring. When the Celtics were at full strength, they were dominant. It’ll be good to get Hayward back.
Biggest Strength: The goaltending and defense is so strong for the Bruins that it’s hard to ignore. However, the contributions of the offense to that major goal differential cannot be swept aside. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak have become the best one-two punch in all of hockey as they have combined for 84 points on the season so far.
As many predicted, if the Celtics were to be contenders, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown would need to make the leap as a pair. While Walker leads the team with 21.9 points per game, Tatum and Brown have been nothing short of excellent. Tatum is averaging 20.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Brown clocks in at 18.7 points and 7.3 rebounds. They are thriving in this offense and it’s been a lot of fun to watch.
Biggest Weakness: It’s still hard to see if the Bruins are weak in any department. They’re well-coached and disciplined. Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug have been picking up a lot of slack on defense, however. They’re great, but if plays like Sean Kuraly and Charlie McAvoy could step up to a greater degree, it would be appreciated.
The Celtics’ big men still leaves a lot to be desired in the wake of an Al Horford-sized hole. Daniel Theis has been passable and Enes Kanter has been something of a non-factor. Hopefully, they are able to improve soon.
Where to Next: The Bruins are barreling towards the midway point of the season. Up next, they have a game tonight versus the Carolina Hurricanes. All eyes will be on the December 11 rematch against the Capitals, however!
The Celtics have a fairly easy stretch in December with the toughest games likely coming when they play the Philadelphia 76ers and follow it up with a game against the Dallas Mavericks. I’m looking forward to Christmas Day, when the Celtics will play the Toronto Raptors.
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