We’re just past the halfway point (more like 2/3rds actually) and the B’s have hit a mid-season snag. Boston has looked a bit listless at times, narrowly squeaking out 6 wins in their last 10, while dropping a few disappointing contests. Still, with the team riding a 21-7-3 record into 4th place in the East, it’s time to take a look at a few pre-season predictions and see how they may pan out for the rest of the season.
Bruins Regular Season Finish:
Pre-Season Prediction: Boston finishes 2nd in the East with a Northeast Division win. Montreal misses the playoffs. We’ll see Pittsburgh in the first round.
So much for my prediction of a weak division. Montreal is in first, Toronto is actually in it, and somehow Ottawa is gutting it out through injuries. Even Buffalo has been in thorn in our side this season. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh is riding high in first place. Boston’s still got at least a game in hand against all division rivals so second place is still attainable.
Mid-Season Prediction: Stick to your guns, B’s still finish second. All roads lead through Pittsburgh, though they stand to be an Eastern Conference Finals foe these days.
Tyler Seguin & Brad Marchand:
Pre-season Prediction: Tyler Seguin – 32 Goals, 55 Assists. 3 alleged celebrity affairs. Same bad Dunkin’s commercial.
Pre-Season Prediction: Brad Marchand – Marshy takes a step back, 18 Goals, 22 Assists, 1 Suspension. The real Brad Marchand shows up for the second round of the playoffs.
Might have had these two a little reversed. After lighting up the Swiss Elite League, Seguin was a slow starter come January, taking about a month before really hitting high gear. Meanwhile, Marchand came out with guns a-blazing, notching 13 goals through 29 games. The wrists look strong and there’s promise he could blossom into a true sniper. The biggest takeway? Through 31 games the Seguin, Marchand, Patrice Bergeron line is one of the best trios in all of hockey and lighting the lamp on a nightly basis. When these three guys get it going, it doesn’t matter who’s doing the scoring.
Mid-Season Prediction: Marchand hits 25 goals, Seguin nets 20. These guys hit another gear come playoff time.
Pre-Season Prediction: Have the Red Cross trucks parked outside the Garden on December 1st. Watch for Ryan Miller, Steve Ott, Brad Marchand, and Milan Lucic to get involved for their respective teams.
Well, December 1st rolled around and the Red Cross was busy tending to Gary Bettman’s cholesterol levels. That said, the Sabres have given the B’s the most trouble, game in and game out this year. The matches have been particularly nasty and there’s certainly a personal edge everytime these two teams take the ice. It’s not over yet.
Mid-Season Prediction: With the B’s looking for a strong finish and Buffalo looking for a way into the big dance, expect the April 17th tilt in Boston, just two weeks before the end of the season, to be an alamo point for both clubs. Puttin’ on the foil coach!
Jack Edwards Outdoes Himself:
Pre-Season Prediction: Edwards references Shakespeare, Ronald Reagan, the Salem Witch Trials, and Popeye… all in the same season. Not including playoffs.
Well Edwards had been relatively average… that is, until about a week ago when he boldly declared that the Bruins ought to sell, sell, sell and declare 2013 a bridge year. These guys might be going through a lull, but they’re still in 4th place! A couple depth moves puts them firmly in good footing to make a run at the cup.
Mid-Season Prediction: Edwards may have outdone himself, but not the way some would hope. He’ll get back to his homer habits and save himself with a dandy of a speech to close out the first round.
Pre-Season Prediction: East – Boston v. Philly. A thrilling new thread to their growing rivalry. West – Vancouver v. L.A.. The Kings are built to let it ride, while the Canucks have too much talent to ignore.
Boston is pulling their weight while Philly is nowhere to be found. They’d need a huge surge just to squeak in. At this rate, it’s more likely that the B’s will see the other team from Pennsylvania.
In the West, Vancouver is about where you’d expect them to be while L.A. has rebounded from a slow start to move up to 6th.
Mid-Season Prediction: Sub in Anaheim for Vancouver and Pittsburgh for Philly and you’ve got the pieces for a thrilling final four. As dominant as Chicago is, they’re likely to burn out by the second round while Montreal doesn’t have the depth and Winnepeg is at a geographical disadvantage.
With just five weeks left to play, we’ve officially entered the stretch run folks. It doesn’t matter if it seems as though we’ve only just begun, playoff hockey is just around the corner. Time to separate the men from the boys. Boston’s got the goods but they need a little depth. Expect a few shrewd moves with the outside chance of a jaw-dropper. The Bruins are set up to go deep into the playoffs.