We have reached the middle of January and the Boston Bruins are undefeated.
That statistic may be a little skewed since the Bruins’ campaign is only two games into this 48-game regular season. One fact that is not skewed is that the Bruins are keeping pace at the top of the Northeast Division with the Ottawa Senators and the revamped Buffalo Sabres.
Although their first two games were played on TD Garden ice, the Bruins will play four out of their next seven games on the road. The four points that Boston has accumulated through the first two games will surely prove useful.
Even though things seem to be rolling in the right direction for the Black and Gold, the comfort level with this team did not exist right away.
Last week, the Bruins took on their AHL affiliate Providence Bruins in the annual “Black and Gold” Scrimmage. Tuukka Rask, the new man between the pipes, allowed six goals in the 7-5 defeat. So far this season, Rask has only allowed two goals. He is starting to play well when it counts.
The positive perspective that could have been taken from the scrimmage was that all five of the goals scored were from five different players. The problem down the stretch last season for the Bruins was the lack of consistent goal scoring. That may have been attributed to the absence of Nathan Horton, but with him healthy and solid production around him could become vital during this shortened season.
The Bruins, when healthy, have some solid goal scorers up front. On the other hand, one of the big questions was if defenseman Dougie Hamilton was ready to make the transition to the NHL.
Hamilton recorded 17 goals and 55 assists in 50 games with the Niagara Ice Dogs last season. His production in the Ontario Hockey League shows signs of him being that allusive puck-moving defenseman the Bruins have been looking for. Hamilton has yet to make his debut on the scoring sheet at the NHL level. Since he is getting some time on the power play this early in his career, it will be just a matter of time.
The other spot that needed to be filled on the roster was the third-line left winger position. Many considered Jordan Caron to be the run-away candidate for the position, but an injury he sustained in an AHL game has sidelined him for the last couple of weeks.
Chris Bourque, son of long-time Bruin Raymond Bourque, has seized this opportunity and has earned a spot with the big club.
Bourque has experienced success in the AHL. He was a member of three Calder Cup championship teams with the Hershey Bears and has posted a total of 395 points in 398 career AHL games. He should not have a problem transitioning to the NHL, despite only being 5-foot-8.
After playing the first two games with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, it looks as if he will become a staple on that third line.
The Bruins remain perfect on the schedule. Odds are that will change. However, the Bruins have the depth to put together another Stanley Cup run. Let’s see if they can put it together.