Going 7-1-2 in their last ten games, the Boston Bruins have skated into fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Behind scoring from Charlie McAvoy, David Backes, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, the Bruins have soared into a pretty playoff position.
In fourth, if the season ended now, Boston would face the fifth place Toronto Maple Leafs. That’s not exactly an easy series for Boston, as they lost to Toronto in their two matchups this season 3-2 and 4-1 to the Leafs on November 10th and 11th, respectively. However, in December, Boston went on the rise.
Chad Zimmerman, a writer for the Causeway Crowd, a division of FanSided, said, “The Boston Bruins five game win streak was snapped on Thursday night (December 28, 2017) in a disappointing loss. At least they have a good chance to rebound.” Yes, Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin led the Washington Capitals to a 4-3 victory over Boston, but they took the B’s to a shootout where only one goal was scored. A hard fight against the second best team in the East and the sixth best in hockey is a sign of good things to come in 2018.
With the Tampa Bay Lightning way ahead in first place with 58 points, the Bruins are not thinking about catching them, yet. While first is a long shot, at 48, they are only three points out second place, currently held by the Caps.
The B’s won their last game 5-0 over the Ottawa Senators. Tuukka Rask pitched his 40th career shutout.
Ever since head coach Bruce Cassidy threatened Tuukka Rask’s job by starting Anton Khudobin for a couple games, Rask took initiative and has looked as good as he did back in the 2013-14 season when he won the Vezina Trophy. The goaltender has made a huge change, calmed down, and taken back the helm of this Stanley Cup caliber team.
Rask has .923 save percentage and Khudobin has a .922 save percentage, the eighth and ninth best, respectively, in the league! With great gloves in the blue crease, Boston is proving a formidable opponent to the other 30 teams in the NHL.
In the entire month of December, Rask did not suffer a regulation loss. He went 10-0-1 in the final month of 2017! His steady hand on the wheel is bringing Boston back to their rightful place atop the Eastern Conference and all of the entire National Hockey League!
The scrappy Scandinavian skater held his own in the latter half of the 2017 portion of this 2017-2018 season and as January begins, he prepares for a start against the eighth place New York Islanders. Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss split the games at goaltender for New York with Halak playing five more games at 24. Rask has a clear advantage considering Greiss has a save percentage of .884 and Halak .905.
In addition to Beantown’s chances at a good spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, while they are just two points behind the third place New Jersey Devils and three behind the Caps, they have played the least games out of any team in the league at 37, tied only by the 14th place in the East Senators and the first in the West Las Vegas Golden Knights. Boston has played one less game than the Devils and a whopping three less than D.C. Happy hockey and Happy New Year!