After a 3-2 overtime defeat last night at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens, the Boston Bruins find themselves third in the Atlantic Division. They trail the Toronto Maple Leafs, who have a game in hand, for the second seed by one point.
The black and gold have had to play through a difficult schedule as of late. They’ve battled the Sabres, Capitals, Maple Leafs and Canadiens in four out of their last five games. Each of those teams is a playoff contender and, one could argue a serious Stanley Cup contender. The good news for the Bruins? The road does get a bit easier.
In four out of their next five games, the Bruins will take on the likes of the Flyers twice, the Blues and the Rangers. Each of these teams is in the bottom two in their respective divisions. If the Bruins want to make up ground on the Maple Leafs and dare I say the Lightning, the B’s must take advantage of the upcoming schedule.
That being said, winning these games is not a given. The Bruins have struggled at times against weaker opponents. For example, they have lost both their games against the Canucks this year. This is a team that is third to last in the Pacific Division. The Bruins have lost twice this year to the Red Wings who are second to last in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins have also fallen to the Panthers and Devils this year who are third to last in their respective divisions.
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Scoring is going to have to come from all four lines for the Bruins if the team wants this pattern to end. In their loss against the Canadiens, the only two goals came from the top two lines. Brad Marchand opened the scoring in the first period and David Krejci tied the game at two with under a minute to go in regulation. However, Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak all ended the game with a -2 plus/minus. The Bruins can’t solely rely upon their top two lines to win games and climb in the Atlantic Division standings.
The time is now
Considering the injuries that the Bruins have dealt with so far this season, they should be pleased with where they sit in the standings. At just past the halfway mark of the season, sitting only one point behind the Maple Leafs is an accomplishment. But, now is the time for the Bruins to show the rest of the NHL what they are capable of. Tuukka Rask is playing his best hockey of the season, everyone is healthy (for now) and the bye week is just around the corner. As Jack Edwards likes to say toward the end of a hotly contested game “it’s winning time.”