The Boston Bruins are now ten games into this season, and through those ten games, the Bruins are holding onto first place in the Eastern division. Every point this season comes at a premium, so the fact that the Bruins are currently in first place bodes well for their chances to make the playoffs this season. As the season moves forward we all get a better idea on which teams will be in the playoffs and which teams will be on the outside looking in. Since the Bruins look as if they are in pretty good shape to make the playoffs, let’s take a look at who the biggest threats are in the Eastern division to the B’s.
Going into the season, a lot of people had the flyers as the team that would come out of the Eastern division on top. That can still happen as they are currently in second place. They have one of the deepest rosters in the NHL, and when Carter Hart is on his game, it is hard to beat the second-year goaltender. The Flyers are one of the toughest teams to beat, and when it comes to the playoffs, they will be a tough opponent.
New York Islanders
The Islanders have stumbled coming out of the gate this season. They are currently in seventh place in the division, but I’m not ready to count them out quite yet. If I had to bet which team would make the playoffs—the Pittsburgh Penguins or the New York Islanders—I would bet on the Islanders. We can’t be too quick to forget that the Islanders gave the Tampa Bay lightning a run for their money in the conference final just one season ago. Given that the roster hasn’t changed too much in the off-season, I expect them to finish the season in the top four in the Eastern division.
Probably the toughest team to beat in the division, the Capitals pose the biggest threat to the Bruins this season. In past seasons, the Bruins have struggled mightily against the Capitals. The Caps are a team filled with highly skilled veterans who are looking to win a cup this year. Now that the capitals have signed the former captain of the Bruins, Zdeno Chára, they have gone from being a team that will win a lot of games, to a team that will win a lot of games and bully you in the process. The Bruins split their first two meetings and will have six more against the Caps in the regular season. Chances are that these two teams will meet again in the playoffs.
The Eastern division will be one of the most competitive divisions in the NHL this season. There are probably five teams that should make the playoffs in this division, but only four will. If the Bruins maintain their current pace, they will have no issue making the playoffs this season. As the season goes on teams will become more desperate to get two points, so there will likely be a playoff atmosphere well before the playoffs begin this season. If there were ever a season where a team could not afford to get cold for any stretch, it would be this one. Any sort of losing skid could be the difference between being a top team in the division and completely missing the playoffs. If the Bruins can weather the storm against these top contenders, they will be in good shape come playoff time.