Expectations Can Grow for the Bruins in 2019

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The Boston Bruins entered Sunday tied for third in points in the Eastern Conference with 52 points through 42 games this season.  Not a bad first half of the season you say?  The Bruins have accomplished this feat being battered and bruised.  They have played significant portions of their season without some of their star players.  The Bruins have been plagued with injuries consistently since the first game of the season.  This makes their current record of 24-14-4 even more impressive. The black and gold serve to have a strong second half of the season if they can stay healthy and continue to grow as a team.

Photo courtesy of TheTribune.com

Mid-Season Standouts

Several players have made a direct impact on the season thus far.  Here are a few names that have been going above and beyond night in and night out. 

David Pastrnak has had an exceptional start to the year and in-return has been named to the All Star team. Pasta leads the Bruins in points and goals, he has also played in all 42 games.  The young forward continues to excite as part of the Bruins’ first line and has been a human highlight reel.

Jaroslav Halak is worthy of mention through the first half.  Halak boasts a record of 13-6-2.  The veteran goalie, who came in to replace Anton Khudobin, has started over half of the team’s games this season.  Halak has been a reliable number two option to Tuukka Rask, who seems to be just starting to find his game.  Halak also provided stability while Rask took an unexpected leave of absence this season.  Look for the 14 year veteran to give back a few more games to Tuukka as we come down the stretch, but as we all know Rask does need time off heading into the postseason.  Halak will have many more important starts that will need a superior performance to help propel the Bruins into a favorable playoff seeding.

How can we not discuss Patrice Bergeron as a player who deserves praise through the midpoint in the year.  Bergeron, who has missed a big chunk of the year, has only played in 26 games this season.  He now has a clean bill of health and 35 points so far.  Bergeron continues to be a leader on and off the ice and opposing teams are having a difficult time containing his offensive creativity.  Bergeron continues to play as one of the best two way players in the National Hockey League.  Look for Bergy to make up for lost time on the disabled list as we move into the second half of the year.

Mid-Season Concerns

The back end of the Boston Bruins has been nothing but impressive.  The team ranks third in the league in Goals Against Average per Game - a testament to the Bruins defensive units and goaltending.  The Bruins have had several different defensemen this year.  Charlie McAvoy has only played in 17 games this season, and was a team leader in minutes throughout his rookie campaign last year.  While the defense has been a success of the team, the offense has not been as reliable.  The Bruins currently rank 18th in the NHL in Goals For per Game. 

Besides the first line, the Bruins have had a very difficult time generating consistent offense.  David Krejci has lacked support on the second line, and the trade rumors are beginning to swirl in Boston.  If the Bruins are serious playoff contenders they are going to need more than just one line to produce.  This effort will either have to come from within the team, or the Bruins will have to go shopping.  Players will need to begin to step up on the offense like youngster Jake DeBrusk, who has 16 points, or veterans like David Backes, who tallied a goal Saturday night against the Buffalo Sabres. 

The Bruins are being linked to a potential trade with the St. Louis Blues for center Brayden Schenn. Schenn would be converted to a winger to compliment the second line.  Schenn averages roughly 23 goals per season and could be a nice acquisition for the team.  The Bruins need to be careful when dealing for a potential loaner.  A trade will not be worth it unless it is for the right player.  Last year the Bruins gave up quite a bit for veteran Rick Nash and were unable to accomplish their goals with him.

The Bruins still have a long road to Stanley Cup glory.  The team will be trying desperately to win another cup with Captain Zdeno Chara and future Hall of Famer Patrice Bergeron.  The good news heading down the stretch is the Bruins’ record with all of the injuries they have faced this season.  The lingering question is whether the team can stay healthy, or if the offense can find a spark outside of the first line.

Regardless, some exciting hockey will be on our radar as we crawl into 2019.


Follow Marc on Twitter @mrobes12.

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Expectations Can Grow for the Bruins in 2019
Expectations Can Grow for the Bruins in 2019
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