As October comes to an end, many NHL teams begin to discover their identity. As Thanksgiving approaches, it is important to remember that around 77% of teams who are in a playoff spot will make the playoffs. This stat bodes well for the Boston Bruins as they currently sit in first place in the Atlantic Division and hold the best winning percentage in the entire league. The first month has been nothing but a success for the black and gold, although there are a few things that do need work.
One obstacle the Bruins need to overcome is secondary scoring. Although it has gotten better as of late, for the majority of October, Boston has relied heavily in their first forward line to do the scoring. The Bruins got some help in this department as David Krejci scored last night after his five-game absence, and their third line center, Charlie Coyle, has factored in on the scoresheet as he has scored in each of the team’s last two games. If they can keep this up, they will likely find themselves toward the top of the standings come the season’s end.
The only other issue the Bruins have had has been five on five play, but once again, it has improved of late. Back in June, they struggled mightily in five on five play against the St. Louis Blues and it ultimately cost them the Stanley Cup. It seemed like the Bruins were continuing that trend going into this season relying heavily on their power play, but that has gotten better as they have racked up ten even strength goals in their last two games.
Defensively, the Bruins have been exceptional so far. No Boston defenseman has a negative plus/minus rating this season which means a couple things. One, they have not allowed many goals, or two, they have been on the ice for many Bruins goals. Either way, every Bruins defenseman has been on the ice for more goals for than goals allowed, which is a sure-fire recipe for success.
The only other thing that has been borderline perfect for the Bruins this season has been their goaltending. It was just a year ago when we were talking about Tuukka Rask leaving hockey for “personal reasons” after having a rough start to the season. This year, Rask is an early contender for the Vezina as the NHL’s best goaltender. So far this season, Rask has won six of his seven starts while holding an impeccable .951 save percentage. Jaroslav Halak has also picked up where he left off last season winning three of his five starts while holding a .919 save percentage.
The Bruins have been amazing to start the season, but this unbelievable pace they are on is unlikely to hold up. Unfortunately, injuries and slumps will likely occur throughout the season which will hinder the current pace they are on. However, with no current signs of slowing down, the Bruins are looking good when it comes to being in a playoff spot once Thanksgiving comes around. I am sure Jack Edwards will remind us all in late November, but I am going to tell everyone now that the majority of teams that are in a playoff spot on Thanksgiving will make the playoffs come April, and the Bruins will be right there.