BOSTON - The Patriots and the Red Sox are currently in full-on chaos mode, so I thought we all might welcome a bit of a reprieve from the endless barrage of upsetting news from those two clubs. Instead, let's focus on some pleasant teams because there's not much to stress about when it comes to the Bruins and Celtics right now.
Where They Stand: Currently, the Bruins are not just first in the Atlantic Division by five points, but they have the best record in the entire NHL! They are 33-10-12 with 78 points and they look like a dominant force to be reckoned with right now.
The Celtics are in third place in the Eastern Conference, at the moment. With a 35-15 record, they are a game and a half behind the Raptors and eight and a half back of the Bucks. Currently, the Celtics are in second in the Atlantic Division.
Who's Hurt?: Currently, the Bruins are faring pretty well on this front. Knock on wood. The most recent scratch was Danton Heinen and even that was just a healthy one. Joakim Nordstrom missed two games this week due to allergies, but I doubt those will be sidelining him anymore.
The team is definitely banged up. Tonight's game could see the absence of Hayward, Theis, Smart, Brown, and Walker. Fortunately, the young guns have been stepping up for Boston. But these guys need some rest.
Biggest Strength: The line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak (all of whom should have been All-Stars) still makes me woozy. But Pastrnak is the best strength by far. He is one of the best hockey players in the world right now with his 38 goals and 75 total points.
This might sound like a dumb strength, but the Celtics are at their best when they have a consistent lineup. A rotation of Enes Kanter, Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, and Gordon Hayward is seemingly unstoppable. Granted, injuries have prevented this lineup from being consistent, but if they can really gel down the stretch run, lookout.
Biggest Weakness: The thing is, Pastrnak and his line are so good that he's making up for a lot of slack from the other players. Most of the even-strength goals this year have come from Pastrnak. The team has great depth, but the players need to step up and prove that.
The Celtics are still a bit undersized, though, for sure. Staying pat at the deadline was probably the right move. I don't think it's a good idea to break up the clubhouse chemistry right now. But height might be something they yearn for come playoff time.
Where to Next: A little under thirty games remain for the Bruins. With the All-Star break in the rearview mirror, it's time to prepare players for rest cycles and to compete for the number one seed.
The All-Star break is right around the corner and the Celtics will seize onto all the rest they can get.
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