Is it to early to separate pretenders from contenders? Probably. But, when it comes to the Boston Bruins, I think we can safely assess them as the real deal in the Eastern Conference. Before the season started, I assessed them thusly:
What has transpired thus far has moved the Bruins from playoff potential to conference leader. Bergeron, however, hasn't been central to the Bruins' offensive explosion. He is, according to head coach
That's a luxury afforded by the play of Lucic, Krejci and particularly Kessel. Their development has accelerated to the point where Kessel is one of the most dynamic players in the game right now. Challenged by a playoff benching and a summer message from management to realize what level he needs to compete at on a nightly basis, Kessel's production is the result of his resolve and stands as his "I get it" response. Combined with Lucic's power-forward presence -- he's showing improved mobility after a summer of foot-speed drills and power skating -- and centerman
The result is that the correlation is there for the B's: They've scored the most goals in the conference and sit atop the standings as a result. And that was my initial point. How much more offense would be available to augment the already instituted defensive tenets put in place by Julien?
The answer? Plenty.
Meanwhile, the defense has not suffered, with the Bruins yielding just 67 goals- against to date -- the fewest in the NHL. And goaltender
Not only is Boston's depth in goal better this season, they are dealing with injuries and still flourishing. Mainstay rearguard
The formula has catapulted the Bruins to their current status and looks unshakeable. In a city where the Red Sox, Celtics and Patriots make it a challenge to get noticed even on the local level, the Bruins look poised to grab headlines of their own -- now and for the foreseeable future.