Going into the Olympic break, the Boston Bruins are currently the best team in the Atlantic Division, and second in the entire Eastern Conference. They’ve gotten there by enduring an injury plagued December and January, and working through their rough patches. To date, the Bruins have yet to see more than a two game losing streak this season.
They’re the only team with a single regulation loss in their last ten games. They’ve expanded their lead over the Tampa Bay Lightning (seven points) and have cut the lead of the Pittsburgh Penguins by half (five points). The team has had a renaissance in the scoring department putting up three six goal games and a seven goal game in the last three weeks. Peter Chiarelli is pleased with how his team is playing going into the break.
“I think our team has been, as always, our structure has been good. I think we have improved our ability to score,” said Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli after the Bruins finished their last game before the break (a resounding win over the Ottawa Senators, 7-2). “I think our depth has been outstanding – through the forwards that we brought up and now you see the D in there.”
The Bruins have been putting on an AHL talent exhibition this season. This certainly wasn’t the plan. The Bruins’ injury run inflicted on the team, especially among the defensemen, made it a necessity. The AHL players came in and proved three things. First, that the Bruins organizational depth is just obscene. Secondly, we both teams playing from practically the same playbook a Providence Bruin can go into a Boston game and know what’s expected of him, and how easy it is for him to fit in to the organization. Finally, we have to acknowledge that Peter Chiarelli is a mad genius when it comes to selecting his players come draft time.
Now, the hardest working team in hockey gets a solid two week break. With only five Olympians representing the Bruins, the team will get a well deserved rest.
For those Bruins going, it will still be a great time in Sochi. Patrice Bergeron will be on the fourth line for Canada, Tuukka Rask will likely start the Finnish wall in their first game. Zdeno Chara will keep Slovakia competitive, David Krejci will team with Jaromir Jagr for the Czech Republic, and Loui Eriksson will see some time with the Sedin brothers for Sweden.