As is usually the case with most professional sports teams, it was a bit of an up and down season for the Boston Bruins. In my opinion they had more ups than downs, however with the way people talk around Boston you would think it was the other way around but I get where they’re coming from.
Too many times this season the Bruins routinely blew third period leads, usually caused by costly turnovers or uncharacteristically bad defensive lapses. Whatever the reasons the Bruins found ways, often times making an art out of it like only a team from Boston can do, to lose games they probably should have won.
There was also too many stretches of lazy play along the way, something this team cannot afford. In order for the Bruins to win games and be successful they have to play a hard, emotion-filled game and outwork their opponent. Often times that just wasn’t the case for the Bruins.
With that said, they still had a chance to win the Northeast Division and clinch the 2nd overall seed in the playoffs. Now I know they didn’t win that game, didn’t win the division and didn’t clinch the 2nd seed. My point is how bad of a season could it really have been if the team finished 5th overall in the NHL standings and was a point away from winning the division? How has the vibe around this team gotten so negative? The answer is simple, it was a tale of two-halves for the Bruins.
In the first 24-games of this lockout shortened 48-game NHL season, the Bruins came flying out of the gate and were a scorching 17-4-3. They were playing “Bruins hockey” and all was right in the world.
Then, in the last 24-games of the season something changed, it was like the Bruins hit the cruise-control button and stumbled to an ugly 10-11-3 finish. Not exactly the kind of thing you want to see from your team headed into the playoffs.
Is it something that can be fixed or are the Bruins headed for another one-and-done playoff run? Personally I believe they’ll be fine, this is a team that is loaded with talent, grit and guys who know what it takes to win. Lets not forget the core of this team is riddled with proven playoff performers, but you can’t just start playing inspired hockey overnight. You can’t just “flip the switch” as they say and I don’t believe the Bruins will have to, they’ll have plenty of help in doing that.
This team should have all the motivation they need to start playing the type of hockey they need to be playing in order to get back to the promised land. From the remaining sting from last years early playoff exit, to Jarome Iginla choosing the Pittsburgh Penguins instead of Boston, all of it combined with the fact that their first round opponent will is the Toronto Maple Leafs and it should do more than just light a fire under the Bruins.
The Maple Leafs are an Original-6 team, like the Bruins, and are also a Northeast Division rival. The games between these two this past season were often physical and filled with that good kind of nasty.
They were hard-fought and spirited affairs of which the Bruins often found themselves on the winning end of, because those are the kind of games the Bruins excel in. The Bruins need to be challenged and they need to be ticked off to build up the kind of emotion that is needed to play their brand of beat-them-up and drag-them-out kind of hockey. That was just the regular season however, and we all know that means nothing once the postseason starts. But the bad-blood that already exists between these two teams will help the Bruins find their game, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Like the title states, the playoffs the perfect time for the Bruins to turn the page on the regular season and put all the doubts about their abilities to rest. Nothing can make people forget about a Jekyll and Hyde type of season faster than postseason success.