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What the Bruins are thankful for in the 2021-22 season

As the vacation season approaches, PHR will check out what groups are thankful for as the season heads in the direction of the one-quarter mark. There additionally could be a number of issues your group would love down the street. We’ll look at what’s gone effectively in the early going and what may enhance as the season rolls on for the Boston Bruins.

What are the Bruins most thankful for?

A light-weight early schedule.

Normally, for those who mentioned that November was coming to an finish and the Bruins had been seven factors out of a divisional playoff spot, alarm bells can be ringing all throughout Boston. But with simply 15 video games performed up to now — tied for the lowest complete in the league — there’s loads of time to make up that floor. In reality, the Bruins have performed 5 fewer video games than the Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings, two groups forward of them in the Atlantic standings. Sure, issues aren’t going excellent for Boston by way of the early a part of the 12 months with a 9-6 report, however it’s not panic time simply but.

Who are the Bruins most thankful for?

The “Perfection” line.

Despite two of its members being in their mid-30s, the Bruins’ prime line is simply as devastating as ever. Brad Marchand is off to an unbelievable begin with 20 factors in his first 15 video games (a factors/recreation tempo that has him fifth in the league), David Pastrnak has 15 factors regardless of capturing at a career-low 7.6%, and Patrice Bergeron continues to be arguably the simplest two-way heart in the league. The 36-year-old Bergeron has 13 factors in 15 video games, has been on the ice for simply six objectives in opposition to at even-strength (in comparison with 11 for) and has gained 62.7% of his faceoffs so far — simply the highest mark in the league from any full-time heart.

Like they’ve for years now, the prime line of the Bruins is carrying the offensive load whereas they fight to determine the remainder of the lineup. While gamers like Craig Smith and Erik Haula wrestle to seek out the again of the internet, Pastrnak, Bergeron and Marchand are holding the group in the prime half of the league for objectives for per recreation. It’s not going to final ceaselessly, however it nonetheless is for now.

What would the Bruins be much more thankful for?

Tuukka Rask’s return.

One of the largest variations in Boston this 12 months is the goaltending tandem, a brand-new duo of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark. Neither one has been distinctive, and even above-average up to now, with a flat .908 save share for every of them. That’s not the finish of the world, however it’s additionally not what the Bruins have been used to for the final decade-plus. In every of the 12 seasons that Rask performed a minimum of 23 video games for the group, he posted a save share of a minimum of .913. Overall in his profession, that quantity was .921, one among the finest in the historical past of the NHL.

It doesn’t imply Swayman and Ullmark can’t play to a stage higher than they’ve up to now, however there’s actually no assure that they may. The problem is, there’s additionally no assure that Rask can play as much as the stage he has in the previous, even when he comes again to the group in 2022 at full energy. The veteran netminder has been clear about his need to play for Boston as soon as he recovers from hip surgical procedure, even skating at its facility currently. If the Bruins have their eyes set on one other postseason run, it nonetheless appears probably that it’s going to embody Rask, a minimum of in some style.

What must be on the Bruins’ Holiday Wish List?

A second-line heart.

If the change in internet was the most noticeable, maybe the most essential was the one at the second-line pivot place. David Krejci’s departure and subsequent return to the Czech Republic left a large gap in the Bruins lineup, one which so far has been stuffed largely with Charlie Coyle. It’s not that Coyle has performed poorly in that function; in reality fairly the reverse, as he leads all non-first-line Bruins forwards in objectives and factors by way of the first 15 video games. But the group has mentioned many occasions in the previous that they suppose he’s simplest on the wing, and having him there and even on the third line as an alternative would solely assist to elongate out what has change into a top-heavy group.

By buying a official top-six heart sooner or later, it could slot everybody else in the Bruins’ lineup down a peg and make them seem to be a way more well-rounded group. It’s not all the time simple to seek out that type of participant, however the group does even have some further cap area this time round to make an addition at the deadline. In reality, in the event that they don’t make any drastic modifications over the subsequent few months, they might have greater than $10M in area to make a giant splash. Whether they’ll have the property to do this is one other query, as is whether or not they’ll be in the proper spot standings-wise for it to make sense.

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Saturday, December 4, 2021

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