Since the trade deadline came and went on February 20th, The Bruins have played six games. What was their record in those games? 3-1-2. As good as that looks, it’s even better when you dig a little deeper.
They have outscored their opponents 16-6 during that span, outshot them 172-161, have dished out 24 hits per game and have shutout their opponents twice. Their power play is clicking at 21.7% and scoring five on the man advantage, while they have not allowed a power play goal against in those six games.
That’s the kind of hockey that we’re used to seeing from The Bruins. But, what happened? Leading up and including the deadline, Boston traded seven players from their starting lineup, including Devante Smith-Pelley, Nik Grossman and Milan Lucic. The Bruins, who sat with the fifth worst record in the league, were sellers. All but giving up, they started trading assets and looking toward the future, acquiring a first round pick and Kasperi Kapanen among others. To further understand, this reporter went to GM Jason Gallant directly.
“These guys are playing hard,” he said. “Some of the players that have come up and filled some holes, they’re playing for a spot on this team next year. Guys like O’Neill, Brickley and Gaudet have all exceeded expectation.”
That trio specifically have combined for a goal and two assists, are a combined plus seven and have played a physical game. The standout, however, is Josh Anderson. He’s been inserted onto Boston’s top line with Brayden Schenn and Drew Stafford. On his own, he has put up two goals, three assists, is a plus two and 24 hits. Schenn stepped up with seven points and Stafford has five points in five games as a Bruin.
“It’s remarkable how well they’ve gelled together,” GM Gallant said. “What are they up to, 17 points in 6 games? That’s pretty impressive. Don’t forget Parise is a point-a-game during that span too. Seidenberg’s chipped in with four assists. We’re really getting contributions from everyone. Clifford's a plus five. Goaltending’s been outstanding too.”
Crawford has recorded two shutouts in his last 5 starts with a save percentage of 0.939. One of those shutouts came at the expense of the mighty Florida Panthers. “It’s funny, the next day I bumped into their GM, Trev,” Gallant said. “He wouldn’t even look at me in the eye. He kept changing the subject, mumbling something about the rain or some nonsense. It wasn’t really coherent; he wasn’t having a good day so I left him alone. All I wanted was to rub it in his face a little, but he ruined that pretty quickly.”
What does the future hold for The Bruins? As well as they’ve played, the playoffs are likely out of reach. At the same time, they’re distancing themselves from better lottery odds. It remains to be seen how things develop from here, but there’s reason to be excited.