So the Bruins won, 3-0, despite being outplayed by the Penguins in the 2nd to the tune of an 18-4 shots disadvantage. But I suppose it’s now equal considering the Bruins peppered the Oilers with 49 shots on Monday and only came away with one point. But the Penguins … they’re not good, despite a lot of talent (but zero depth), and they really don’t seem to give a damn.
And here’s where I give coach Claude Julien and bit of credit. I’ve been tough on him this year, and rightfully so. I don’t think he has put his team in the best spot to win at certain points this year (like starting the 4th line in OT on Monday). But I have to admit, he’s done a good job pulling this team up from their 0-3 train wreck of a start to 2nd place in the division and 5th in the conference. So despite a collapse this team will be in the playoffs, which a lot of media, and probably fans, didn’t think was going to happen.
After the 0-3 start, the Bruins are now 17-6-4 which is pretty damn good. Julien has mixed and matched lines a bit more than in the past, and has worked to solidify the defense corp to one that has given up only 8 goals in the last 6 games. And sure, Kevan Miller’s not anyone’s cup of tea, and 21 minutes TOI last night is probably a bit too much, but at least he’s not falling down. He has been pretty stubborn in not giving guys like Joe Morrow or Zach Trotman a bit more of a chance, but the results are there so we can’t quibble too much, can we?
In addition, the 10-2-2 record on the road is the product of a coach having his team ready, and the team buying in.
Sure, Tuukka Rask’s improved play has helped but so has the cohesiveness of the team as a whole. Getting Dennis Seidenberg back has helped as well.
Where do the Bruins go from here? Look, the conference is still tight:
So the Bruins obviously cannot take a breather at any point until there is a bit more room between them and solidifying a spot in the post-season. And everyone is excited about the possibility of a deadline acquisition, particularly on D, but the question is … who? Sure, Dustin Byfuglien would be nice, but he’s a rental and is asking for about $7M a year. Pass. Cam Fowler in Anaheim? Nice player but is he a Top 4 D-Man? David Savard? Seth Jones? Who knows, Don Sweeney would have to get creative, and give up something (your 1st rounder, KEEP SAN JOSE’S PICK DO YOU HEAR ME) but there is the chance to do it.
Bottom line is that the Bruins are in a decent spot, and with a bit of luck and the pulling of the right strings regarding the roster, could be a real interesting team come playoff time.