As it turns out, reports of the Boston Bruins' demise were completely unfounded. Considering how early it is in the season, this is simply shocking!
Honestly, though, can you really blame the Chicken Littles for wailing about how the Bruins are doomed? The narratives were all lined up perfectly to start the season. Bruins GM Don Sweeney spent the summer dealing away young franchise defenseman Dougie Hamilton and reaching for a trio of prospects in the first round. Combine that with the loss of Dennis Seidenberg to injury before the season and Zdeno Chara's aging skills and you had a negative narrative hurricane just waiting to make landfall in Beantown the second the team faltered.
And falter they did. Through the first week and a half of the season, the Bruins allowed goals at an alarming rate, seemingly confirming suspicions the step back for the defense would force the team to step back, as well.
But three games don't make a season, and we all ignored the good things happening in Boston amidst the losses. Their power play has been the best in the NHL, they score more goals per game (4.13) than any other team and they actually have the fourth-least shot attempts against in the league. The elements for success were there all along.
And they've mixed them together successfully, rattling off a 5-0-1 record in their last six games. They've clambered back into the contending position they expected to be in before the season (even if nobody else did). They still have far more issues to contend with than the Bruins teams of the last few years, but they've already proven we shouldn't count them out so easily.
Bruins 3, Panthers 1
3 things we learned
1. A handful of teams are in full tailspins
Columbus, Calgary and Toronto all started the year slowly. But they keep circling the drain with no end in sight. All three lost on Friday by a combined score of 10-4. The same problems continue to persist. The Leafs can't play special teams, the Flames can't keep pucks out of the net and the Blue Jackets can't do either of those things. (Or score). Mike Babcock won't be fired, and Columbus already made a coaching change. Is Bob Hartley's job safe in Calgary these days?
2. Colorado's power play is drowning them
With seven goals on 42 power play opportunities, no team has done less with more on the man advantage than the Avalanche this season. They wasted three more chances on Friday in a loss to the Hurricanes. With the likes of Matt Duchene, Nathan MacKinnon, Jarome Iginla and Gabriel Landeskog you'd expect the Avs to get it together at some point. But their struggles have contributed to a deep hole to dig out of in the ultra-competitive Central Division.
3. Chicago's road woes continue
With a 5-4 loss in Minnesota on Friday, the Blackhawks fell to 1-4-0 away from the United Center. The last time their road record wasn't above .500 was in 2010-11, so it's safe to say this isn't a situation they're used to. The good news is the central teams haven't started playing each other a lot to this point, so Chicago hasn't lost a lot of ground (division-leading Dallas is only four points ahead). There's plenty of time to get their road troubles sorted out.
Mats Zuccarello iced the Rangers' win against the Leafs with a hat trick goal late in the third. That was great and all, but what a stormtrooper threw on the ice afterwards was much cooler.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens everywhere Dec. 18. Buy your tickets now!
Stat of the Night
How bad are the Flames in second periods this year? This bad:
Post to Post
- Will Blackhawks forward Andrew Desjardins get suspended for this hit?
- WTFSMH, right Mike Hakstol?
- Finally, the Blue Jackets shot a hole into the Capitals' scoreboard.