Headed into the All-Star break, the Boston Bruins are currently in second place in the Atlantic Division with 66 points. Their 18-game point streak has gotten them in the hunt for the top spot in the division, competing with the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning, who got off to a hot start, are only five points ahead of Boston going into the break. The Bruins also have a five-point lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs who have played four more games than the Bruins.
Looking Back at the Boston Bruins Season: A Mid-Year Review
Missing Marchand After Break
The Bruins will be without their top forward Brad Marchand, who was suspended for five games. The suspension came from a third-period elbow on New Jersey Devils forward Marcus Johansson and the league gave their ruling a day later. The next time Marchand will play is against the New York Rangers on February 7.
Rask On A Hot Streak
Goaltender Tuukka Rask played a large hand in keeping the point streak alive against the Devils, stopping 31 of 33 against a team who is in the first Wild Card spot. Rask also held his own in the game against the Senators, stopping 21 of 23 shots. Dominating a relatively easy batch of opponents along the point streak, excluding the Devils, has given Rask a groove to fit into. The momentum he carries will be important to make more meaningful victories for the team when the playoff race tightens up.
McAvoy Missing, But Has Made An Impact
Charlie McAvoy, while currently injured, is shining in his rookie year, generating five goals and 20 assists. The ex-Boston University Terrier first made an appearance in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs and has captured the hearts of Bruins fans with his desire to be ‘that guy’ – meaning he wants to have the game on his stick in certain situations. His desire to fit that role has shown in the shootout, as he is an offensive-minded defenseman.
Players That Returned Before Break
Adam McQuaid and Kevan Miller, both back in the lineup against New Jersey, will more than likely stir up some lines when the team gets back from the break. The Bruins have gotten into a comfortable spot without these solid veterans, but these strong defensemen will be vital to their future. McQuaid suffered a fractured right fibula against the Vancouver Canucks in mid-October and has only been recently admitted to playing in games. Miller missed games to accompany his wife giving birth, then caught an illness, but is ready for a full comeback
What’s Ahead For Boston
The Bruins are sitting rather comfortably in their second spot, needing five points to tie the Lightning, but also leading the Leafs by the same amount. The greatest news as of now is that the Bruins have 20 more points than the Detroit Red Wings, who are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division and well out of the playoff picture. At this point in the season, only a complete disaster would keep the Bruins from clinching a spot in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
When games resume, the Bruins host the Anaheim Ducks and St. Louis Blues before facing off against the team that sits directly under them in the Atlantic standings, the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Bruins will get a chance to beat the Leafs for the first time this season in a matchup between two teams that are extremely likely to face off in the first round of the playoffs.
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