COVID-19 Break Spells Disaster for the 2019-20 Boston Bruins

2019-20 Boston Bruins
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 10: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins makes a save against the Philadelphia Flyers in the third period at Wells Fargo Center on March 10, 2020 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Bruins won 2-0. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)

The 2019-20 Boston Bruins have been a red hot team over the last few weeks. They have a 14-4-0 record going back to the start of February. Over the course of a chaotic 24 hours, starting on the night of March 11th, the COVID-19 pandemic caused the suspension or cancellation of nearly every major sporting event in North America. This included the immediate suspension of the NHL regular season. The impressive hot streak the Boston Bruins have been on could be in jeopardy due to the delay in action.

Suspension of Season to Derail 2019-20 Boston Bruins Success

A break in the action can be nice for some players. The NHL has a long and unrelenting season. A short break can be highly beneficial but a long one can be highly disruptive. The NHL suspending play does not have an official end date so it is highly likely to be a long term break. The abrupt stop not only ends all play, but it could result in a loss of momentum for Boston. They have really been on a roll in the past few months. While the Bruins have been a frontrunner to win the Stanley Cup, everything could change by the time the season resumes, if it even does. A playoff run is all but inevitable. But this team could find themselves with more questions than answers come postseason play.

The Keys to Success So Far

The impressive season Boston has put on thus far has been propelled by career-defining play from David Pastrnak. He has been playing at an MVP level and has been the frontrunner for the Rocket Richard trophy for most of the season. His scoring totals have blown past his previous career highs. He has been the most impressive player on the Bruins roster this season. While his accuracy and passing ability have been off the charts for the 2019-20 season, he could struggle to regain his form. The long hiatus could result in players like Pastrnak needing to find their groove again and take the time to get back to a dominant level of play.

Player Health

While there is major concern over the health of players, there is a positive to this as well. The last few weeks of the season saw major injuries hit nearly every NHL roster. Players like Mikko Rantanen who suffered a significant injury will have more time to heal up. They will be more prepared to get back on the ice when play resumes. Boston is one of the few teams that will actually be hurt by this. The Bruins have been able to remain surprisingly healthy over the course of the season. This means that even though they have time to rest, other teams are getting key players back. The road to the Stanley Cup would become incredibly more difficult with every roster ready to go at full power.

Another reason for concern is the play that the Boston Bruins experienced early on in the season. The team was still one of the best in the NHL but struggled to close out games against opponents they should have had no problem beating. There were legitimate concerns on if this team would be able to be competitive in the playoffs. As we progressed later into the season, the Bruins were able to dominate play across the NHL. They have been one of the best teams in the league. Those teams they dominated were suffering from injuries, injuries that were non-existent in the early parts of the season. Who is to say that this team will not find themselves struggling down the stretch as players return? If this team shows signs of reverting to that level of play, they will not win the Stanley Cup.

What Will Play Look Like When the Season Resumes

Looking at the playoff picture now, Boston would have had to play the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round of the playoffs. That could change as some experts have speculated that the playoffs could be expanded to account for the loss of the last few weeks of the regular season. Teams just outside of the playoffs could find themselves competing for wild card spots in a short playoff series. No matter what ends up happening, this time away from the ice will surely hurt the odds of the 2019-20 Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup.

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