A successful Bruins road trip proves this team is among the best in the NHL

To say the Boston Bruins have just completed a successful road trip would be an understatement. Start with a 3-2 victory in overtime against the Seattle Kraken on February 24 and ending in a 5-4 shootout win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 5, the Bruins finally went 5-1-0 on the trip. Between these two victories, the Bruins left with victories against the San Jose Sharks (3-1), the Los Angeles Kings (7-0) and the Vegas Golden Knights (5-2).

Boston Bruins celebrate after a road win; something they’ve gotten used to lately. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Even the only loss came only after the Bruins allowed a goal with just over 20 seconds left in regulation time against the Anaheim Ducks (allowing late period goals remains a trend that the The team still didn’t seem to get it coherently, as they also allowed the Blue Jackets to tie Saturday’s game at 4-4 and force overtime with just over two seconds left). Well within reach of winning this game against the Ducks and going 6-0-0, the Bruins overall should be very pleased with what they’ve accomplished since their last home game.

The Bruins will be back in action just two days after that trip concludes on Monday March. 7 in a rematch against the Kings for their first home game since Feb. 21 and is expected to be greeted by a boisterous crowd at TD Garden amid the run they are currently on. Before we get to this game, however, it seems appropriate to take a step back and look at what this team has to be proud of given their recent streak of games.

The Bruins are once again among the best teams in the NHL

The start of the 2021-22 season has been as poor as it gets. The Bruins faced an inconsistent schedule and, as a result, simply couldn’t find a rhythm on which to build chemistry or lasting success. Combine that with a slew of new players, a holeshot at starting goalie and second-line center for the first time in more than a decade and things just weren’t going in the Bruins’ favor.

Fast forward to March 2022, however, and the Bruins have seemingly put all the pieces together despite so many holes still plaguing their roster. The need for a true No. 2 centre, a top-six right winger who can replace Jake DeBrusk in that spot (due to the young winger’s continued desire to be traded), and another top-six defender. first four are not easy problems to overcome. .

For many teams, missing out on so many high-level pieces would likely put them somewhere in the bottom half of the standings. The Bruins, however, have the ninth-most points in the NHL, have the eighth-most wins, and also have the 10th-best point percentage in the league.

This team might not be pretty and they could definitely use some help, but they’re nothing if they aren’t resourceful and hardworking. While they may not have gotten the recognition they deserve this season due to the fact that they hold a wildcard spot and not a full playoff spot, that’s because the Eastern Conference has been so competitive this season more than anything. .

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If the Bruins were in the Western Conference, they would sit comfortably in third place in the conference. They would be either the second-place team in the Pacific Division or second-place in the Central Division behind the Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche, the latter being the best team in the NHL this season.

The Bruins aren’t the best team in the NHL and still need some work, but they’re far from a bad team.

Bruins get production of important players

Some notable players who have grown tremendously on this trip include Jeremy Swayman (4-0-0 with a .936 save percentage and a 1.75 goals-against-average with a shutout), Jake DeBrusk (six and eight points in six games with a hat trick), Craig Smith (four goals and seven points in six games with a hat trick) and Erik Haula (three goals and eight points in six games). There have been others who have also performed well throughout this streak, but these four players stand out for specific reasons.

Boston Bruins Jeremy Swayman
Jeremy Swayman became the Boston Bruins’ top goaltender this season (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

For Swayman, stepping in and picking up where Tuukka Rask left off last season as this team’s top goaltender was the difference between the Bruins near the bottom of the standings and near the top. DeBrusk may be interested in a fresh start outside of Boston, but he’s currently tasked with playing the best minutes on the right wing and he’s delivering in spades. Haula may not be a typical NHL No. 2 center and if the Bruins can find an upgrade at the trade deadline, they undoubtedly will; so far, however, he has been excellent between David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall.

As for Smith, he may not be playing in the top six anymore, but he’s definitely been playing with Charlie Coyle and Trent Frederic lately.

The Bruins will need to make significant improvements at the trade deadline if they are to have any chance of making the highly competitive Eastern Conference in the playoffs. For now, though, the players they currently play with have proven they can get the job done when needed and have kept the Bruins within striking distance of a playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.

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