State of Bruins and Hurricanes Preview
By Mitch Canzano
At this point in time, the Boston Bruins are tied at the top of the Atlantic division with the surging Tampa Bay Lightning. The other night, Boston beat Tampa Bay just 10 seconds into overtime on Brad Marchand’s 34th (!!) goal of the year. That’s good for 3rd in the league.
For Boston, the timing couldn’t be better for a career year like this one as last year the Bruins ranked 22nd in the league in goals per game with just 2.55. This year, Boston is 3rd in the league, averaging 3.00 goals per game.
This immense improvement in offense has the Bruins sitting at a 38-23-7 record through 68 games. With 14 games to go, the Bruins find themselves in a tight race for the Atlantic Division crown. The Bruins are tied with the Lightning (though Tampa Bay has a game in hand) and are just 2 points in front of the Panthers, whom they defeated the other night.
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going, and that’s just what the Bruins have shown as they are 12-5-2 since coming out of the All-Star Break at the end of January.
However, the going only gets tougher from here on out, as the Bruins have upcoming games against the Islanders, Sharks, Ducks, Kings and Panthers, all of whom are fighting for playoff position.
The West Coast trip could be a make or break trip for the B’s who will need to grind and find ways to win on such a fatiguing string of games. Tonight, the Bruins take on the Carolina Hurricanes who are in the midst of a pretty rough season and sit near the bottom of the Atlantic Division.
The Hurricanes (30-26-11) are coming off an overtime win in which they tied the game with just 1 second left in regulation to send it to overtime. Coming off a win like that can create all kinds of confidence in a locker room, and the Canes will come into the Garden looking to play spoiler. The Bruins boast a 4 game home win streak against the Canes, but the Bruins have been abhorrent at home this season, so it’ll be interesting to see how that narrative plays out.
Nevertheless, the Bruins need to keep stringing wins together in order to stay atop the close Atlantic Division and clinch a playoff spot. After a disappointing season in which Bruins fans didn’t get to see the Bruins in the playoffs, let’s hope the B’s can come together and make a strong push for their first Stanley Cup since the 2011 campaign.