Evaluating the Bruins at the Season's Quarter Way Mark
Boston, MA - The Boston Bruins have been one of the teams with the most interesting narratives in the entire National Hockey League this year. Not as hapless as the New Jersey Devils or the Chicago Blackhawks, but not as outwardly dominant as the Nashville Predators or the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Bruins have defined the notion of a middle-of-the-pack team. (Even the Bruins' point differential is just barely ahead of the threshold for completely even at plus two.)
At 14-9-4, the Bruins have racked up thirty-two points on the season, but is eleven behind the Lightning, who have had a stranglehold on the Atlantic Division for what seems like the majority of the season thus far, despite some tangling with the Buffalo Sabres and the Toronto Maple Leafs, both of whom have pulled away from Boston in recent days, especially with Boston's consecutive losses to the Detroit Red Wings and the Florida Panthers by disheartening respective scores of 4-2 and 5-0.
Currently, the Bruins sit at the number one Wild Card spot for the Eastern Conference, which may seem less than desirable for some New England hockey fans, but when considering all that Boston has weathered to this point, it certainly could have been a lot worse for the boys in black and gold.
The team has been absolutely devastated by injuries this season, including some to star defensemen Charlie McAvoy, Zdeno Chara, and Kevan Miller, as well as to Patrice Bergeron, who is arguably the most capable Bruin of the past ten years. Despite this unfortunate pattern, Boston has still kept their heads above water, but recent signs are pointing to the hope that they won't have to for much longer because they might just be wavering.
One of the more interesting storylines to emerge from the season has been the goalie platoon between Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask, both of whom have proven themselves worthy of starting spots in net at various points of the season. Halak's numbers are still slightly better, but Rask has seemed to effectively work through the mental aspect of his poor early play.
Regardless, the Bruins will enter the season's second quadrant with arguably their hardest matchup all year, a road affair with the Lightning tomorrow night.