In the course of their 18 games played, the fewest of any team in the NHL, the Boston Bruins have found numerous ways to win. Saturday afternoon’s matinee against the Tampa Bay Lightning was just another example.
Down 2-0 early in the first period after the Lightning potted two quick power play goals, a rarity against Boston, the Bruins looked like they lacked energy. A quick turnaround in the next 40-minutes bounced the Bruins back with three unanswered goals that included a late Brad Marchand goal on the power play to clinch the B’s sixth straight win and the 3-2 victory.
It’s possible that in six months, when the 2013 NHL season is said and done, the Boston Bruins will have won their second Stanley Cup in three years.
It’s also possible that the Boston Bruins will fail to win the Northeast Division and will have to face a stacked team such as the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins or Philadelphia Flyers in the first round of the 2013 NHL Playoffs.
Realistically though, the expectations for the 2013 Boston Bruins team should be somewhere between legitimate Stanley Cup contenders and strong front-runners for first place in the Northeast Division, making them among the top three teams in the Eastern Conference. If all goes well, then yes—the Boston Bruins have a real shot at playing deep into June for Lord Stanley’s Cup. If injuries begin to surmount and deplete the team’s offensive depth and Tuukka Rask is unable to stay healthy than the Bruins could very well see the latter of the scenarios listed above.
While speculation runs wild on the status of a 2012-13 NHL season, one of the more interesting developments in Boston comes down to the Bruins’ openings on the forwards’ depth chart.
With all of the lines intact as they were last year and the assumed return of right-winger Nathan Horton, a vacancy opens up on the Bruins’ third line. The departures of Benoit Pouliot, who was traded to Tampa Bay in the offseason where he signed a one-year, $1.8 million deal, and Brian Rolston, who remains an unsigned free agent, open a spot on the left-side of Chris Kelly and opposite of right winger Rich Peverley on the team’s third line. While the expectation is that Jordan Caron reclaims the gig once again, the deep group of forwards with Boston’s AHL-affiliate Providence Bruins present some interesting options