January 26, 2012
The NHL All-Star break is upon us. For most, it will be a week off from suiting up and taking the ice for a game. For a select few, they will get to experience the honor of participating in the league’s weekend-long All-Star festivities.
Once the star-studded exhibition concludes, it will be back to business for all 30 teams. The Boston Bruins are a team that played a tough stretch of games leading up to the break. They can breathe a slight breath of relief and reflect on the first half of the season.
So just exactly how have the B’s done thus far in the 2011-12 campaign?
The Bruins sit on top of the Northeast Division with a 31-14-2 record, good for 64 points. They have posted an 11-2-0 divisional record thus far with their only losses coming at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens.
As far as the other teams within the division (Toronto, Buffalo, and Ottawa), Boston is a perfect 8-0-0. The Maple Leafs are loaded with talent and they have given every team that they have played everything they can handle. Whenever they face off against the Bruins, the script is flipped. The Bruins have knocked off the Leafs by more than one goal in each of their first four meetings.
The Sabres, however, are a team that can match the physicality and the style of play the Bruins bring to the ice. Buffalo has plummeted in the Eastern Conference standings as they now currently hold on to 14th place.
Ever since the last meeting between the Bruins and Sabres, a 4-3 shootout victory for Boston on November 23, Buffalo has only won eight games since then. Coincidence?
The Senators are the team that will most likely challenge the Bruins for Northeast Division supremacy, trailing the B’s by only four points. With four meetings still remaining between the two teams, it sure is going to get interesting down the stretch. The Bruins have recorded five goals in each of the first two games with the Senators.
The Bruins have taken care of the teams within their own backyard thus far. What about across the league?
Boston has dominated the Atlantic Division by posting an 8-1-1 record. The only two games that they failed to win were the overtime loss to the New York Rangers and the opening night let down to the Philadelphia Flyers.
They are currently unbeaten against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the New York Islanders, and the New Jersey Devils.
However, the Bruins have struggled against the Southeast Division. Most of the teams in that division provide tough match-ups for Boston. Whether it is the 1-3-1 defensive system of the Tampa Bay Lightning or the speedy and hard-hitting Winnipeg Jets, no game has been an easy one.
They are just 5-7-0 against this division including a 0-3-0 record against the Carolina Hurricanes.
The level of competition in the Western Conference is vastly different from what the Bruins are used to, yet they still have done fairly well against these teams (7-4-1). They took the Detroit Red Wings right down to a shootout which they eventually lost. That was a great game played by two complete teams.
The Bruins still have a bulk of games against Western Conference teams remaining on the schedule including a three-game California road trip in March.
What is impressive about the Bruins’ first half dominance is that they have ducked nobody. They have played the tough teams. The entire league has been made aware of what the Bruins can do.
Enjoy the All-Star break.