Halfway through the season, the Boston Bruins are fourth in the Atlantic Division at 26-14-3, nine points ahead of the Detroit Red Wings with four games in hand. They will be hard-pressed to catch the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, but look like a solid bet to secure one of the Eastern Conference’s two wild-card playoff berths.
The B’s helped themselves during a heavy January schedule, going 11-4-1 and reversing a downward trend that had been influenced by uneven play, a light schedule and coronavirus-related disruptions. It isn’t all positive, however. Boston stumbled badly in games against the Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars last month, exposing some potential flaws that opponents will seek to exploit.
For now, the B’s are trending in the right direction and getting balanced production across the roster. The team’s salary cap situation will allow for GM Don Sweeney and his management team to bolster the roster in advance of the trade deadline on March 21. With a strong, but aging veteran core, the team has one more realistic chance at making some postseason noise, but a lot of things will have to break right.
We’ll grade the forwards, defense and goaltending in the first half, plus identify some potential trade targets that could key Boston’s drive for the playoffs.