The Boston Bruins are on top of the Atlantic Division in a first place tie with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins defeated the Lightning 1-0 in overtime on Tuesday Night giving them back-to-back division wins. 10 days ago, there was a lot of negativity around the Bruins given their trade deadline moves. We posted about this the day before the deadline. The moves that were made did not create a lot of positive buzz for the Bruins. The results since the deadline have been the opposite of that buzz. The Bruins have earned nine out of a possible ten points including wins against the Black Hawks, Panthers, and Lightning. While it seems as if the Bruins have some major flaws, they are somehow tied for first place.
Give the Bruins credit for what they have achieved this year. They certainly don’t have the ideal roster and their defense is one of the worst groups in the NHL, but they have done the best with what they have. The reality is that this is a down year for the Eastern Conference and, in particular, the Atlantic Division. All of the teams have flaws and are beatable in the playoffs. In fact, given their playoff experience, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that it’s the Bruins who have the best chance of being the team that’s left standing to get to the Eastern Conference Finals.
This team has taken a lot of heat for their moves this year and in recent years. However, we need to remember that this is a team that missed the playoffs last year. Expectations were not very high going into the season after trading two key players in Milan Lucic and Doug Hamilton. Rebuild was the word. The hope was that this would be a bottom tier playoff team and this year would be a step in the right direction. That goal appears to be on its way to being accomplished. The Bruins have overachieved. Did anyone expect the Bruins to be tied for first place in early March? If so, they were few and far between.
The Bruins are going to be going to the playoffs. The standings are not going to matter much as this is a team that plays better on the road than at home. In fact, with just seven losses in regulation on the road, the Bruins are the top road team in the NHL. Road-ice advantage is in play here. So, what’s the goal for the rest of the regular season? They need to stay in the top three in the division and avoid the Wild Card. No one wants to face the Washington Capitals in the first round. If they stay in the top three and face the Panthers, Lightning, or Red Wings, they have a good chance of advancing.
Last year, Boston had historic snowfall and cold weather. The Bruins missed the playoffs. It was 75 degrees in Boston on Wednesday. The Bruins are going to the playoffs this year. We’re back to normal.