With the playoffs fast approaching, the Boston Bruins are looking like a team others will be hoping to avoid when the playoffs start, especially after their impressive wins over two of the best teams in the NHL. The Bruins recent performances have significantly improved their NHL sports betting odds of winning the Stanley Cup.
In the past week, the Bruins took three out of four possible points from their meetings with the Chicago Blackhawks and Washington Capitals. The Blackhawks are the defending champions and the Capitals have the best record in the NHL.
The wins against Chicago and the overtime loss to Washington came at home, which was surprising because the Bruins haven’t been a very good home team for most of the season. In reality, the Bruins should have gotten a clean sweep of the Capitals and Blackhawks but they were denied a sweep thanks to a questionable offside call that nullified Torey Krug’s goal in the second period.
With their performance against the Capitals and Blackhawks, the Bruins seem to be back on track which is bad news for any potential playoff foes. Despite the recent success, Bruins fans shouldn’t start planning any championship parades just yet because the team still has a lot of room for improvement. The team is also 16-16-4 at home, which is the first time they have been at .500 at home in a while.
One of the biggest areas for concern for the Bruins is their defense which has been ravaged by injuries this season. General Manager Don Sweeney traded for defenseman John-Michael Liles at the trade deadline, but at 35-years-old, he isn’t considered a significant upgrade at the position.
Before their games against Washington and Chicago, most insiders expected the Bruins to make the playoffs, but they also expected them to be ousted early. Their performances against the best teams in the league shows that they are a very dangerous team when they are at their best, but the question on everyone’s mind is can they play like that consistently in the playoffs?
Brad Marchand recently told reporters that the players were very confident about themselves and know that if they compete harder than their opponents, they will be difficult to beat. Marchand said the talent level on most teams in the league is very close, it’s just a matter of which team wants it more.
Critics contend that the Bruins were able to play well against both teams because of some fortunate circumstances. The Blackhawks played the previous night and rested starting goalie Corey Crawford when they played the Bruins.
The Capitals also played a game the night before they played the Bruins and also rested their goalie when they played Boston.
Despite the cynicism surrounding the Bruins performances against the Capitals and Blackhawks, the players believe their gameplan and effort were the reason they were able to play well against both teams.
The Bruins still have a lot of work to do because they are entering the most daunting part of their schedule. The Bruins play the Tampa Bay Lightning, Florida Panthers, and Carolina Hurricanes before heading out west to face the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks and Los Angeles Kings.
If Boston can come out of the stretch with a winning record, it will prove that they are in fact for real, making them a force to reckon with during the playoffs.
Zdeno Chara also believes that the Bruins are playing well, but also acknowledged that there is plenty of room for improvement.