Streaking Boston Bruins starting the second half of the NHL season with home ice advantage in the playoffs in their sights.
Thou there doesn’t seem to be any record of him complaining about it, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy, in private amongst other management or friends, must have surely lamented about the frustrating, inconsistent play of his team during the first half of the 2018-19 season.
After an early 4-game winning streak in he first week of October, the Bruins’ win-loss results page was nearly a mirror. Three straight losses. Then two wins. Then a ping-pong match of wins and losses for the next five games. Then two more wins, followed by two more losses. And on it went. You get the picture.
But following Mondays big 4-0 win over the previously streaking Minnesota Wild, the Bruins find themselves on their first 5-game win streak of the season, and now only two points back of the second place Toronto Maple Leafs.
Of course, anytime a team goes streaking, there are numerous reasons and theories as to why. But there are two driving forces behind this win streak.
The first is the inspired play of goalie Tuukka Rask, who after some early season struggles has found his mojo again, and will be relied on heavily as the season soon enough hits its stretch drive. Rask has won four of the five games during this streak, fashioning a .959 save percentage in those games while allowing only five goals against.
Secondly, has been the play of some of Boston’s young forwards. The line of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato showed some great chemistry in recent games. And the spunk and tenacity of the Chris Wagner, Noel Acciari and Sean Kuraly trio will continue to create problems for opposing teams moving forward.
Schenn a Bruin?
Recent comments by CLNS Bruins host Jimmy Murphy, and also touched on this week by our own @ThePuck77 editor Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler), have the Bruins kicking tires on St. Louis Blues forward Brayden Schenn. While there is no doubting that the addition of Schenn would be a boost to the Bruins (or any other teams’) roster, it might be wise to pump the breaks a little on that possible acquisition. On top of possible salary cap implications for the Bruins, the Blues are allegedly seeking a first-round pick in return, plus one or two current, young roster players on the Bruins. Certainly a steep price to pay, more so with how well the youngsters are playing.
In the words of the legendary Crash Davis, the Bruins need to “respect the streak”. See how it plays out before considering a big roster change.
The rest of the week is a good test for the hot Bruins, as they play host to the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Thursday night, before traveling to Toronto for their last matchup this season with the Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Possible playoff preview? Certainly a good chance.
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Statistics obtained from theScore
featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals