At the moment, the Boston Bruins(14-6-2) stand atop the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division with thirty points. Normally, I’d be 100% psyched by this information, but I’m still a little uneasy. While the David Krejci line is firing at 100% and the Chris Kelly line is doing better than predicted, the Bergeron line has been severely curtailed when it comes to point production. Patrice Bergeron isn’t playing a full game, and I have no idea why Brad Marchand is so low in the standings. The coaches are really going to have to start handing out a few healthy scratches in order to get people’s heads back into the game.
The blueline situation is also a mixed bag. With McQuaid and Seidenberg hurt, we’ve been forced to rely on a lot of young defensemen. Torey Krug has done well, as has Dougie Hamilton and Matt Bartkowski. They’re young and they do make those occasional mistakes that have led to bad penalties and costly goals. The learning curve is unforgiving at the NHL level, and they’re keeping their heads above water.
Thankfully, we have Tuukka Rask. That Finn has been an all-out godsend for Boston. He’s got a 1.62GAA a solid .945 save percentage and is first in early Vezina buzz. There have been nights, especially in the recent Rangers game, where Tuukka Rask was the only person playing 100% of his game. (that crazy fluke goal that led to the shootout loss last night not withstanding.)
The Bruins are in first, and I am happy for that. However, I look at the Western Conference, and see eight teams with points higher than the Bruins and I shudder a little. The Bruins lost in the Stanley Cup Finals because the Blackhawks played truer to their system than we did. The amount of points tallied by those Western teams shows that a lot of them are playing to their identity, something the Eastern Conference teams have not been able to do consistently.
I want to see the Bruins win the Stanley Cup again. If that is not a possibility, then I want (with one or two exceptions) an Eastern Conference team to win. Call it a trait of a New Englander and a Texan, but we just like seeing the hometown heroes score the big win. At the moment, unless the Bruins (and other Eastern teams) start commiting themselves to playing to their strengths, the Stanley Cup final could easily be a Western sweep of the East.