With a 4-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes Saturday, the Bruins became the first team to corral 80 points. They beat out the Washington Capitals and Atlantic division rival Tampa Bay Lightning. Boston has many strengths that have propelled them to the top of the NHL leader-board to date.
Any conversation regarding the key contributors to the Bruins' success has to start with the "Perfection Line”. The formidable trio of Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak make it a habit of embarrassing forwards, frustrating defensemen, and undressing goaltenders. Pastrnak’s 77 points have him ranked 3rd in the sport. Marchand’s 69 points slots him at the number six spot. While Bergeron is not quite that elite on offense, his 46 points in 47 games is very respectable.
Not to mention, Bergeron and Marchand are quite the duo when it comes to killing penalties. 37 and 63 have a knack for generating quality scoring chances, even when down a man.
Speaking of defense, the Bruins defensemen can beat you in many different ways. Boston’s captain, Zdeno Chara, is still a vital part of the Bruins organization. Big Z, even though he will turn 43 in March, brings toughness, leadership, and defensive smarts. He is still a legit shutdown d-man, especially on Boston’s penalty kill.
Brandon Carlo’s game just keeps growing. He is nasty in the corners and smart below the goal-line. He will soon take over the reigns from Chara as Boston’s number one defensive minded defenseman.
Torey Krug’s incredible offensive skill and creativity have led to countless Boston scores over the years. The Bruins should do everything they can to sign him this offseason. He is a wizard on the man advantage.
Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk are vital to the Bruins' offense and defense. Both of them can kill penalties as well as produce on the power play.
The often underappreciated Tuukka Rask always gives Boston a chance to win. His .929 save percentage is 2nd in the league for goalies who have played in at least 10 games. Jaroslav Halak is also having another solid year as Rask’s backup.
Boston's biggest problem over the past few seasons has been finding secondary scoring. This season, David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk are both turning in productive campaigns, while Charlie Coyle has recently discovered chemistry with Anders Bjork. The rotating 4th liners of Sean Kuraly, Joakim Nordstrom, Chris Wagner, Anton Blidh, and Par Lindholm provide good energy for the Bruins.
The two biggest questions for Boston are creating dependable and consistent 2nd and 3rd lines and finding a full time 6th defenseman.
The Bruins might believe Karson Kuhlman can be the 2nd line right-winger. Once Danton Heinen comes back, Coyle centering Bjork and Heinen could sure up the 3rd line. However, Boston could look to trade for a 2nd line winger for Krejci and DeBrusk if they do not think they can get consistent production from Kuhlman or another current forward.
Boston’s 6th defenseman has been a revolving door all season. Connor Clifton, John Moore, Steven Kampfer, and Jeremy Lauzon have all battled for this position. However, either through injury or inconsistent play, nobody has taken the reigns. The Bruins will need to solidify this position for the playoffs.
The Bruins have as good a chance as any to lift the cup this spring. They have a talented roster full of players who can help the team on offense and defense. They have 2 goaltenders capable of frustrating an opponent's offense. Boston has legit superstars who could carry them to a championship. If they can answer a couple of roster questions, Boston has a great chance of lifting the cup this June.
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