The big, bad Bruins are back

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Boston Bruins right wing Chris Wagner (14) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the Carolina Hurricanes during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, March 5, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Mary Schwalm)

It’s the beginning of March. The city of Boston is on a month-long championship drought, not yet rivaling the length between the World Series in October and the Super Bowl in February, but it’s getting there. Times are tough in the city.

What’s a sympathetic Boston sports fan supposed to look forward to now?

March Madness is approaching, but no one’s cared about college basketball in the Boston area since before I was born.

What’s worse is that the Celtics are looking more and more like a dumpster fire for the time being. I mean, they’re ALL the way back in fifth place and just 12 games above .500 (barring their matchup with Golden State tonight).

Look no further than the other team that occupies the TD Garden. The Boston Bruins at the time of writing are on a 16-game points streak. They’re 9-0-1 in their last ten games, and (again—at the time of writing they’re down 1-0 to the Hurricanes) they have the second-most points in the entire NHL with 87. The Maple Leafs have a game on the B’s and have 86 points.

No one’s catching the regular-season juggernaut that is the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bolts are up 17 points on everyone else at 104 points and are a sure lock for the President’s Trophy. But the Bruins won’t need to worry about the Lightning until the second round.

Last year the Bruins were in an almost-identical situation when the playoffs started. Boston, as a two-seed, faced three-seed Toronto in the first round. Granted, the Bruins racked up 112 points, just one less than one-seed Tampa Bay. Last year’s Bruins knocked off Toronto in a seven-game series before being eliminated by the Bolts in five games. The B’s routed Tampa Bay 6-2 in the first game of the series before losing four straight contests.

So, what’s different about this year’s Bruins team as opposed to last year’s? On the surface, it’s not that much. The B’s are without Rick Nash this season, which may be for the better. Ryan Donato was at the deadline for Charlie Coyle while also acquiring Marcus Johansen.

Is the team better? Absolutely. Did they get over the hump to where I’m comfortable with them beating Tampa Bay in a seven-game series? I don’t think so.

Boston general manager Don Sweeney didn’t deplete the young talent going after Mark Stone. Stone is a guy that would’ve put this Bruin’s team immediately in the conversation to beat Tampa Bay. Instead, he was traded to Las Vegas, and Sweeny wouldn’t even say if it was close to being a deal for the Bruins.

“I don’t know if I’m comfortable commenting in terms of what conversations I may or may not have had along the way,” Sweeney said in a press conference. “It’s a good deal for (Stone), I can tell you that.”

No, the Bruins didn’t get Stone. But there’s no use in harping over what Sweeney could have done at the deadline. The roster is set and the Bruins still need to lock down the two-seed. There’s a lot of work left to do. But when the playoffs get here, I’ll be confident. The Bruins have proved they can play with any team in the entire league.

Plus, Boston is just used to winning lately.


Connor Donahue is the digital editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at connor.f.donahue@uconn.edu. He tweets at @conn_donahue.

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