By: Erin Walsh
The Boston Bruins currently have a record of 44-30-7 with one game remaining in the regular season. This season has been pretty crazy for the Bruins. There have been many ups and downs throughout the season, but one thing Bruins fans are looking forward to is the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The B’s are back in the playoffs for the first time in three years. A lot has happened this season for the Boston Bruins, so let’s take a look back at their season.
The Boston Bruins started their season under head coach Claude Julien. Bruins fans weren’t expecting much out of this Bruins team at the beginning of the year because the defense was subpar (still is) and the offense just didn’t seem like they had it together. The B’s started the season 12-8-0 which really isn’t too bad. In the month of November things seemed to take a turn for the worse, the Bruins had a record of 8-6-1 during that month. At this time things just didn’t seem to be clicking for the Bruins. The woes continued into the months of December and January as well with the B’s having a record of 14-11-5 in those months. Now you look at those records and probably say to yourself “well that’s not too bad” but many of those games were winnable for the Bruins and they just didn’t seem to have any fire in them.
In the month of February the Bruins fired head coach Claude Julien and named Bruce Cassidy interim head coach. When Cassidy took over in February the B’s went 7-1-0 in their first eight games with the new coach. Highlights from that time included beating the Montreal Canadiens 4-0 and beating the San Jose Sharks twice. In the month of March the Bruins went 8-6-0 which wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t fantastic either. Starting on March 16, the Bruins went on a four game losing streak, losing to Edmonton, Toronto, Ottawa and Tampa Bay. If the Bruins had won at least two of those games, they could’ve possibly clinched a playoff spot earlier than they did. Losing to divisional opponents like Toronto, Ottawa and Tampa Bay who had games in hand on the Bruins was just simply ridiculous. The Bruins could have won those games but they once again showed that they lack mental toughness. During this time many people were very upset with Tuukka Rask, saying that he was soft, he couldn’t play in big games and that he just flat out sucked. Since that four game losing streak, the B’s have a record of 6-0-1. They have got points in ALL of their games since that losing streak which is fantastic! The B’s managed to lock up a playoff spot on Tuesday night when they faced the Tampa Bay Lightning and won 4-0. Tuukka Rask has played outstanding in his past 5 games, only letting in 4 goals. So he’s let in less than a goal a game. The Rask haters have been pretty quiet as of recently, they only seem to come out when Tuukka has a poor game. BTW every goaltender has bad games, people shouldn’t be blaming Tuukka for one bad game every so often.
With Claude Julien as head coach, the Bruins had a record of 26-23-6. With Bruce Cassidy as the interim head coach the Bruins have a record of 18-7-1 which is outstanding. Since the coaching change the Bruins have showed that they can be a playoff team. The main reason the Bruins are going to the playoffs is because of Cassidy. Cassidy has managed to give the offense a spark, while keeping the defense collected. Cassidy has also managed to make the Bruins power play better and maintain their defensive posture on the penalty kill. One thing that is very irritating is that the Bruins did NOT win a single game against both Ottawa and Toronto this season which is terrible. If the Bruins could’ve at least split the series with both of those teams then they would be in a better position than they are now.
With Bruce Cassidy as the interim head coach, the Bruins could possibly make a pretty good run in the playoffs. It’s quite obvious that the B’s are the underdogs in this years playoffs but they should not be overlooked. If the Bruins get the right matchup in the first round, and the players are healthy then we could see the Bruins stun the hockey world by making it to the second round. With Cassidy’s record right now with the B’s, we could definitely see him being made the head coach for next season. With many prospects making the jump from college to professional hockey, the Bruins will be much better next season. All in all, the Bruins have had an up and down season but the month of April has been good so far for the B’s so we can only hope that they keep it going.
Photo: (Boston Globe)