The 2016-17 NHL season is going to end in a few days, so it is perfect time to analyze the performance of the Boston Bruins. There were high hopes for the team after barely missing the playoffs the last two years. While the Bruins would certainly like to have a few more wins, their spot in the playoffs looks to be secure with only 11 games left to play.
Boston’s probable return to the playoffs can be attributed to the solid play of a few key players. The emergence of David Pastrnak has been huge for the Boston Bruins after losing Loui Eriksson to free agency in the off-season. Pastrnak is still not legally able to drink alcohol in the United States, but he has already turned into one of the best young players in the NHL. His ability to play great offense and defense has helped stabilize a team that struggled with consistency the last two seasons.
While the Boston Bruins have found a new star player in David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand is the main reason the team is contending for the playoffs this year. Marchand was a solid player on the second line for most of his career, but he has quickly become one of the most important players in the league. Marchand currently has 37 goals and 79 points in 71 games this season, which are both good enough to lead the entire NHL. The Bruins have always been a team that struggled to score a lot of goals due to their style of play, but that is no longer the case thanks to Brad Marchand.
It is always good to have a few great scorers on the team, but it is impossible to win in the NHL without solid play from the goalie. While Tuuka Rask will never regain his spot as the top goalie in the NHL, he has stepped up his play from last year. Rask’s inability to make saves in big moments cost the Bruins the playoffs last year, but that is not happening this season. Rask’s skills are clearly declining, but he has found a way to give a solid performance almost every night.
The Boston Bruins certainly do not have the depth of the Washington Capitals or Pittsburgh Penguins, but they are still finding a way to win a lot of games. A return to the playoffs and the emergence of two new star players is enough to get any fan excited for the future of Bruins hockey.