There is just over a week left in the 2018 NHL season. Currently, the Boston Bruins find themselves two points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Eastern Division. The Bruins are holding on to the first seed in the playoffs. If the playoffs were to start today, the Bruins would be looking at a seven game series against New Jersey. So far head coach Bruce Cassidy has enjoyed success splitting time between Rask and backup Anton Khudobin. Besides the solid defense, the Bruins defense has been one of the best in the NHL this season. In this post, we’ll look at three areas where the defense will be the key reason for any hopes of a Stanley Cup this year.
Why Defense Will Carry The Bruins to The Promised Land in 2018
Defense Has Been Healthy
If Rask or Khudobin are going to enjoy any kind of postseason success then the defense needs to be healthy. Currently, the team has only one serious injury and that being defenseman Brandon Carlo. There is no timetable for Carlo’s return. Rookie sensation Charlie McAvoy returned this past Sunday after being out with a hip injury. If Rask and Khudobin are going to enjoy any post season success then they need captain Zdeno Chara, Adam McQuaid, Kevan Miller Matt Grzelcyk and Nick Holden need to be healthy.
Balanced Scoring Attack
Another reason for the team’s success this year has been the overall balanced scoring attack from all four lines. If the defense is struggling on a particular night when the offense has been making up for it. The top line for an example of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak. and Patrice Bergeron has a combined ninety goals scored. By applying this kind of pressure in the opposite end this allows the defense to focus keeping the puck in the opposite end. Newly acquired Rick Nash also needs to stay healthy. Nash acquired at the trade deadline has been out with a concussion.This week, however, Nash has resumed skating with the team and should return hopefully before the first round of the playoffs.
Like many Bruins teams of the past they go down in defeat because of their short fuses and end up losing the series. Brad Marchand for example, leads the NHL in suspensions with eight.It’s not so much as the number of suspensions but the timeliness of his suspensions. Last year, for example, Marchand was suspended for four games the last week of the season. Playing smart is the key to winning any game not just a playoff game. There’s no doubt that Tuukka Rask has a lot to prove as being a big _time netminder in the NHL. His 30-23 record and no playoff wins will be put to the test this year.But with a great coach in Cassidy and a lot of young legs in front of him 2018 could be the year the Bruins reach the promised land with Tuukka Rask as their goaltender.