Tough Stretch Ahead for Bruins

The Boston Bruins have shown no signs of fatigue from last year’s lengthy playoff run. In fact, they seem to be rejuvenated while playing with a chip on their shoulder.

They have opened up the regular season by posting a 7-3-0 record through the first 10 games. At this point, they sit in third place in the Atlantic Division, naturally landing them close to the top of the Eastern Conference.

The plethora of questions that arose during training camp about whether or not this team would gel right away have been put to bed.

The Bruins are undefeated on the road this season (4-0-0) and they also possess the best plus/minus differential in the conference (plus-13). With a revamped roster and consistent locker room chemistry, we have been spoiled with some stand-out performances from a handful of individual players.

For starters, Dougie Hamilton has made tremendous strides in his game. The 20-year-old defenseman has posted two goals and an assist through eight games this season. What is more impressive is that he has a plus-5 rating, tied for third on the team amongst defensemen. He has become a more well-rounded blue liner and his solid play should keep him in the lineup barring injury.

Also, Tuukka Rask has earned that lucrative contract that he signed during the offseason. In nine games, he owns a save percentage of .947 and a goals against average of 1.57. Both of those numbers rank him amongst the top five goaltenders in the NHL.

However, there have been some individuals who have not played up to expectations. Brad Marchand, who does have three points on the year, has not looked like himself. He has become careless with the puck and has not been responsible in his own zone. Some speculate that he is playing with an injury, but the lack of sharpness has earned him a demotion down to the third line.

The concerning factor here is that the Bruins have yet to play through a rough stretch in the schedule. That will surely change starting this week.

For all of the hype that has surrounded the individual games that the Bruins have played so far this season, only a select few are worthy of circulation on the calendar.

Wednesday night will certainly be one of those games for Boston.

The Black and Gold will be featured on “Wednesday Night Rivalry” for the second consecutive week. Last week, Loui Eriksson suffered a concussion. What could possibly happen this time around?

The Bruins will be in action against the Pittsburgh Penguins. We all remembered what happened last season in regards to the Penguins. In somewhat slick fashion, they acquired several veteran players (including Jarome Iginla) at the trade deadline to make a serious run at the Stanley Cup. The “lock” that Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli described them as proved to be inaccurate. The Bruins went on to sweep the Pens in the Eastern Conference Finals, receiving brief satisfaction and a sense of redemption.

Now, a new season is upon us. This rivalry will write a new chapter and it will start on Wednesday night. The Bruins will also play on Thursday night against the Anaheim Ducks, followed by a game on Saturday night against the New York Islanders to close out the week.

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