|Posted by Radatz on January 20, 2018 at 10:05 PM|
It wasn't so many years ago that the Bruins would look like world-beaters until Christmas. Then, slowly but surely, the rest of the league would catch up, they'd struggle to make the playoffs and get knocked out in one round. Then came a few glory years. More recently they developed the habit of folding totally at the very end. And the thought of beating old nemesis Montreal three times in a week has almost always been a major pipe dream.
It's 2018. It's January. Since December 16, Boston has gone 12-0-4. That's 28 points in 16 games. Their record has gone to 27-10-8, second in the Eastern Conference with at least one game in hand over anyone within 10 points.
And they just beat Montreal 4-1, their 3rd win over the Habs in 8 days (one an OTW).
The top line of Marchand, Pasternak and Bergeron is expected to be good and, so far, has been. The fourth line of Acciari, Kuraly and Schaller not only plays well but is winning games for the team. Neither goalie is at the top of league stats, but the team has allowed the fewest goals against owing mostly to having allowed the fewest shots on net.
It has a lot to do with the coach it seems. Under Cassidy they've abandoned the slow, cautious approach practiced under Julien and are scoring. Yet the defensive stats are better. A small core of veterans is being propped up by a swarming cadre of kids playing fast team hockey. So far, other than the draft-rigged Golden Knights, they are the surprise of the league. Can it last? Time will tell, but so far in an up-and-down season the downs have been followed by progressively bigger ups, the latest the biggest. And in virtually every game they've been fun to watch. Who saw that coming?
They could patch some holes, or at least one would think so. Krejci has been relegated to icing on a cake when he's healthy. Resident brontosaurus Chara has been playing well lately after seemingly fossilizing over large portions of the past two seasons. Krug continues to score and to provide scoring chances for the bad guys. The return of McQuaid has provided a big boost for the defense, an indication the group may need more.
But kids like McAvoy, Carlo, Miller etc. have continually improved, a big part of Boston's defensive push, and the end of that process is probably years away. Despite the dinosaurs, the future suddenly looks promising. Even the present is starting to look hopeful.
Categories: NHL Blogs