Boston Bruins Run to the Stanley Cup Needs Some Help Along The Way

With a 6-3 victory over the Washington Capitals on Sunday and a sequence towards the Buffalo Sabres subsequent on the schedule, the Boston Bruins have firmly set themselves other than the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers for the coveted fourth playoff spot within the MassMutual East Division.

Even so, it appears unlikely to the Bruins devoted that their staff will make a deep playoff run. Regardless of the precious additions of Taylor Corridor, Curtis Lazar, and Mike Reilly which have led to a four-game profitable streak, the Bruins nonetheless don’t fairly belong within the higher echelon of the NHL this 12 months.

Taylor Corridor has 2 targets in 4 video games since becoming a member of the Boston Bruins on April 12.
(Picture by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Pictures)

Nevertheless, fortunes can change fairly rapidly within the sport of hockey, as we most lately noticed with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. Lots can occur between now and the beginning of the postseason. The Stanley Cup Playoffs nearly rival March Insanity from 12 months to 12 months when it comes to unpredictability.

This can be very true this season, with the altered playoff format. A whole lot of stars must align simply to make it to the Closing, particularly for a fringe playoff staff just like the Bruins. Right here are some things that should occur for Boston to be one of many last groups left standing.

Keep away from the Islanders within the Early Rounds

The New York Islanders have been essentially the most painful thorn within the Bruins’ facet this season. Boston has a 2-4-1 document towards them, the worst towards any opponent. They lastly slayed the dragon in back-to-back video games on April 15 and 16 in convincing wins, however the Islanders nonetheless really feel just like the staff within the East that’s almost certainly to knock them out of the playoffs, if they need to meet.

As issues stand, the Islanders are preventing for the second seed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, and Boston is slowly creeping up on the third seed. Frankly, they’d be higher off staying in fourth place, going through the Capitals within the first spherical, and hoping that Pittsburgh takes care of the Islanders.

Kyle Palmieri New York Islanders
Kyle Palmieri might proceed to frustrate the Bruins along with his new staff, the New York Islanders.
(Picture by Al Bello/Getty Pictures)

This isn’t to say that the Capitals could be a stroll within the park. Nevertheless, the Bruins match up higher with them than with the Islanders. The Islanders have the formulation to close down Boston’s perfection line, which no different staff has proven, and they’re better-coached. Plus, the addition of Kyle Palmieri, who tormented the Bruins this 12 months when he was with the New Jersey Devils, scares me just a little bit. He might proceed to hang-out them within the playoffs.

The Caps and Penguins are each powerful attracts in their very own proper, however avoiding the Islanders could be essentially the most ultimate scenario for Boston. Regardless of their current struggles, New York remains to be the scariest matchup for the Bruins of their division.

Hold Tuukka Rask Wholesome

To place it bluntly, there may be completely no means the Bruins make a playoff run with out Tuukka Rask. As nice as Jaroslav Halak, Jeremy Swayman, and Dan Vladar have been in reduction this season, they don’t seem to be the reply in objective when the playoffs roll round.

Rask has gone 2-0 since returning from an upper-body harm, and he seems to be again on his sport. Don’t let the three targets allowed on Sunday idiot you – two of the Capitals’ targets have been on the ability play, and the opposite got here on a breakaway scoring likelihood. Rask appeared incredible in web, making a number of key stops within the third interval to protect his staff’s lead.

Boston Bruins Tuukka Rask Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron
Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask is congratulated by teammates Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.
(AP Picture/Mary Schwalm)

Can Halak or Swayman step in for a sport or two within the postseason? Positive. However Boston isn’t profitable a single playoff sequence if Rask isn’t on the market for almost all of the video games. The Bruins coaching employees ought to monitor his well being intently and watch out to not overwork him within the last weeks of the common season. He must be at 100% when the playoffs start.

Blue Line Should Step Up

Boston’s defensive unit should get wholesome as properly, significantly Matt Grzelcyk and Brandon Carlo, who’re inching their means again into the lineup. Apart from Reilly and Charlie McAvoy, they’re the one two actual offensive threats from the blue line. Not solely that, however their skating capability and collective hockey IQ has been the one factor protecting the Bruins’ protection from collapsing.

That was made abundantly clear final week in Boston’s 8-1 loss to the Capitals on April 11, when McAvoy, Grzelcyk, Carlo, and Kevan Miller have been all lacking from the lineup with numerous illnesses. The younger guys appeared fully misplaced with out them. These veterans should get wholesome and keep wholesome for the Bruins to have any likelihood at making a playoff run.

Mike Reilly Boston Bruins
Mike Reilly has 2 assists and a +3 plus/minus since becoming a member of the Boston Bruins.
(Picture by Adam Glanzman/Getty Pictures)

The highest 4 should additionally play an even bigger position on offense – significantly the ability play – which has been a serious element of Boston’s success in current postseasons. Grzelcyk, McAvoy, and Reilly will all become involved on this side of the sport. They’ve the products to run the ability play like Torey Krug, and so they’ll want to indicate it in Could and June.

I lately watched highlights of final 12 months’s Stanley Cup Closing between the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning, which featured many offensively gifted blue-liners (as did the playoffs as an entire). Victor Hedman, Mikhail Sergachev, John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen performed one of the best hockey of their lives. It’s loads to ask for, however Boston’s high 4 must play at that form of degree.

Everybody Contributes

As with all Stanley Cup-winning groups, each man within the lineup brings his finest, from the staff captain to the fourth line enforcer. We haven’t seen many full staff efforts from the Bruins this season, and this would be the best impediment protecting them from profitable within the playoffs.

Issues seem like stepping into the suitable course, with Corridor and Craig Smith revitalizing the second line and Lazar offering a spark on the fourth line. Jake DeBrusk, Charlie Coyle, and Nick Ritchie are quietly placing collectively stable shifts on the third line, although it might not present up on the stat sheet. As beforehand talked about, Reilly has given the blue line an enormous enhance, and the injured defensemen are slowly making their means again.

Brad Marchand Patrice Bergeron Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

We will relaxation assured that Boston’s family names – Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak – will do their share, however what can we count on from these different names? This has been the story of the Bruins for a number of years, and except this staff will get a balanced effort from the whole roster like they did in 2010-11, the Bruins received’t be going wherever close to a Stanley Cup.

For now, although, they should keep centered on the duty at hand: clinching their playoff spot. The subsequent step in attaining that objective is a three-game sequence at Buffalo, beginning Tuesday evening at 6:30.

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