It seems like ages ago when the Boston Bruins stumbled at home against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 11, blowing several leads and raising major questions about the defense and team’s overall makeup. Since then, the B’s have gone 3-0 in wins over the Devils, Canadiens and most recently on the road against the Philadelphia Flyers by a 5-2 score.
With just three games in nine days, the schedule has not been ideal, but the team has made the most of the practice-heavy schedule to avenge their first loss of 2021-22 when they got smacked down by the Flyers by a 6-3 score at the Wells Fargo Center last month. Boston has been getting scoring recently from secondary sources, and the duo of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark has gotten the job done. With the B’s traveling home from Philadelphia Saturday night, they face the Calgary Flames, who beat the struggling New York Islanders by a 5-2 score on Long Island.
Neither team enjoy the advantage of having rested the night before, but the Flames are going to be a handful. Like the Oilers, they are enjoying success right now in the NHL’s Pacific Division, bringing back memories of the late 1980s, when the teams dominated in the old Smythe Division of the Clarence Campbell Conference. Calgary isn’t the explosive, dangerous offensive team the Oilers are right now, but they pose a tough challenge for Boston because they play a heavy, physical puck possession style, but have younger horses to grind it out, get to the net and cause matchup problems for a Boston team that is older, but lacks the same level of skill the Flames have going for them right now. Sunday night’s match at the TD Garden will be a better test for where this Boston club is than the recent opponents have.
Boston’s 9-5 record has them in the middle of the pack primarily because of the disparity in games they’ve played versus other teams in the division. The B’s have six games in hand on the Detroit Red Wings, for example, but trail them in the standings by just one point. The schedule makers haven’t done Boston many favors, but the team has found a way to leverage the extended layoff days and practices to build a solid streak. That will soon give way to far more demanding Dec. and Jan. schedules before the Olympic break in Feb.
With all that’s going on, here’s a breakdown of other key storylines around the Bruins and what we might expect going forward.