The Boston Bruins have hit their bye week and will be on their bye for another week at the time of this writing. And they enter the bye week in good position sitting 11th in the league.
What I want to do today is go over what the team has done right, what can be done better and what has been a weakness for the Bruins to this point.
1. The Bruins have gotten great goaltending from the duo of Tukkaa Rask and Jaroslav Halak to this point. Unfortunately, in the Bruins last game before the break Tuukka Rask was injured with a concussion, it remains to be seen if he will be back next week when the Bruins return to action or if the Bruins will need to make a call up from Providence.
Here is a video of the injury to Rask
2. The Bruins have stayed afloat to this point despite the fact that earlier in the season they were without Patrice Bergeron for an extended period due to an injury. Add that on top of a time where the Bruins were playing as many as four rookie defenders and it is amazing that the Bruins are in such good shape.
3. The top line has looked as good as last season for the most part. And that is important. Because if they had not been as good then the Bruins would be in a bad way.
1. It has become evident the last week of their season before the bye week that they need to start burying their chances. They have left goals on the table because they cannot finish the chances that have been created.
2. They need to work on their secondary scoring. Their top line cannot carry the team, they tried that last season and once they got into the playoffs Tampa Bay had no problem stopping them. They need to add a piece to the second line if they are going to compete against the likes of the Capitals, and Lightning who both own the Bruins as we speak.
While I put none in weaknesses, I would say the Bruins have one smaller weakness and I just touched on it in the needs work section so it didn't fit under two sub-headings, and that is secondary scoring.
When you think back to last season, the Bruins season ended last year primarily because they did not have the offensive depth the hang with Tampa Bay. So they really need to add depth at the deadline. I just don't know who they should target. I have heard them linked to Wayne Simmonds, Vladamir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn but all of those pieces will cost them dearly in collateral because these players have a skill set that can fetch a high return.
The Bruins also have a pretty tough schedule coming up to end the season so they will have to be at their very best every night. So getting another player or two for the end of the season might be the difference between getting a higher seed or a lower seed.
If it is a lower seed in the playoffs it might lead to a first round exit if they have to play the likes of Toronto or Tampa Bay. Because a home-ice advantage for Toronto almost proved too tough for Boston last April so they do not want to be on the wrong side of home ice advantage.
I can only base this on the team that is currently in place, therefore this prediction is based solely on the current roster and coaching staff ignoring any moves that may be made at the trade deadline.
I see the Bruins getting the third spot in the division, fighting hard to keep that final divisional slot. If they cannot secure the 3 spot in the division they may be in trouble making the playoffs with a tough Metropolitan division most likely taking up the wild card spots.
Again though all of this is based solely on the Bruins as is, without any other variable in play such as injuries, trades and so on.
The Bruins return to the ice January 29th against the Winnipeg Jets.
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