Boston Bruins: Positives, negatives, and next steps February edition

STATELINE, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 21: The Boston Bruins head to the ice prior to the 'NHL Outdoors At Lake Tahoe' game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Edgewood Tahoe Resort on February 21, 2021 in Stateline, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
STATELINE, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 21: The Boston Bruins head to the ice prior to the 'NHL Outdoors At Lake Tahoe' game against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Edgewood Tahoe Resort on February 21, 2021 in Stateline, Nevada. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 27: Boston Bruins fans cheer on their team during the second period against the St. Louis Blues in Game One of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS – MAY 27: Boston Bruins fans cheer on their team during the second period against the St. Louis Blues in Game One of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on May 27, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

Things we’d like to see from the Boston Bruins.

Figure out a gameplan to beat the Islanders and Devils. 

Through the end of February, the Bruins have lost five games in regulation and an additional two in overtime. Of those seven losses, five of them have come at the hands of the New York Islanders (three) and the New Jersey Devils (two).

In fact, the Bruins have only managed to pick up a single win against either of those teams and that was in a shootout in the first game of the season against New Jersey. In those six games, the Bruins have been outscored by a count of 19 goals against to 9 goals for.

With three games against both the Islanders and the Devils in March, the Bruins will need to figure out the blueprint for defeating those teams if they plan to stay up at the top of the East Division standings

Fans return to TD Garden

On February 25, 2021, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker made the announcement that Massachusetts would be moving to Phase 4, Step 1 of the state’s plan to re-open the state.

With this next step came the exciting announcement that this would also allow TD Garden to re-open at 12% capacity. On March 23rd, the Boston Bruins will once again have a crowd, albeit small, cheering them on from inside the arena.

While there are still some questions regarding who has access to tickets and what the reopening will look like, it will certainly feel like a step in the right direction to once again have fans in the stands and a home-ice advantage.

Although no Bruins players have publicly spoken about the plan to reopen, many players likely share the same sentiment as Boston Celtics’ center Tristan Thompson when he said:

"“Of course we’re limited to 12 percent or whatever the number is, so I know that will be the strongest 12 percent there is in the league cheering for us every night.”"

More experience for Urho Vaakanainen.

Defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was the Bruins first round draft pick in 2017 and at 22 years old, the Finnish product has been highly touted as one of the top prospects in the Bruins pipeline. Having played 5 games for Boston over the course of the last two seasons, this season seems like it would be a prime opportunity for Vaakanainen to show his mettle with the Bruins.

Thus far, Vaakanainen has played only four games for the Bruins, but has registered two assists and averaged 20:56 time on ice during his limited time with the Bruins.

While Vaakanainen has certainly had his ups and downs in the early going, the injury to Grzelcyk and the wear and tear that the schedule will have should allow him to get into the lineup more often this season.

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Based on how highly touted Vaakanainen has been to this point, fans and the front office want to find out if the Bruins have found their next young stalwart on the blue line.