A couple months removed from one of the oddest NHL seasons in history, the Boston Bruins now set out to have another successful season. Through six games the Bruins are 4–1–1 and currently sit in second place in the rearranged Eastern division.
Due to the new scheduling format in the NHL this season, every team will now only play teams within their division which means every point is of the essence. The Bruins started off the season rough not being able to score a five-on-five goal in the first three games of the season. They have since picked it up and won three games in a row since scoring their first five-on-five goal, and they’ve done all of us without their leading goal scorer, David Pastrnak.
With the key departures of Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug, and with injuries to players like Pastrnak and Ondrej Kase, several Bruins players have had to step up into a higher role this season. One example of that would be Nick Ritchie who has been moved up to the second line with David Krejci and has been a vital piece to the first power-play unit thus far.
Other players who have stepped up this season on the offensive end have been Craig Smith, who the Bruins picked up from free agency this offseason and a couple younger players like Jack Studnicka and Trent Frederic who have each put up points this season. One of the biggest issues in the past with this Bruins team has been their ability to have secondary scoring, but if these players can continue their current play, secondary scoring shouldn’t be an issue this season.
One of the biggest wildcards this season is the play of the defense. With the departures of one of the Bruins best shut down guys and former team captain, Chara and their top offensive defenseman, Krug, the B’s had some holes to fill on the defensive end. Bruins GM Don Sweeney was not very active in looking for any defensemen in free agency this offseason because he felt that they could fill these holes with some of the defensemen he drafted in the past few years, and that is exactly what happened. Four of the six active Bruins defensemen are all under the age of 25, and the fact that the Bruins are third in goals allowed and first in penalty kill percentage this season bodes well for the future.
Aside from the Canadian division, the Bruins are probably in the toughest division. Therefore, there isn’t much room for error. With the shortened season, if anything gets hot and goes on a winning streak, they can find themselves going from last place to a playoff team in just the span of a few games. If the Bruins can continue on the same pace they are on right now, they shouldn’t have an issue making the playoffs this season. Especially considering that this team will only be getting better as they are still missing their top goal scorer in Pastrnak. However, knowing that there are teams that probably should make the playoffs in the Eastern division that won’t means that almost every game will have a bit of a playoff atmosphere this season.