The Boston Bruins held their own despite injuries. Now they’re getting key players back and could be dangerous.
The Boston Bruins (11-8-4) appear set to make a run up the Eastern Conference standings after winning four of five games. And for the first time this season, they’re finally starting to get players back healthy.
They’ve have done a remarkable job of keeping their heads above water in the standings despite enduring injury after injury to key players all season long. Somehow, the Bruins have managed to put itself in a playoff position after the team’s latest 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning, passing the Detroit Red Wings to move into third place in the Atlantic Division.
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The Bruins not only defeated the Eastern Conference’s best team but they also got two of their best players back on the ice.
Star wing Brad Marchand returned to the lineup after missing the last six games. Meanwhile, last offseason’s prize acquisition David Backes played his first game in over a month after receiving surgery for diverticulitis. Seriously, don’t look that up on Google. Backes has been dealing with the illness since the start of the season as it’s limited him to only six games this year.
The win over the Lightning is a significant one. It was only two weeks ago the Bruins were on a four-game losing streak. At the time it appeared as if all the injuries had finally caught up to Boston. But then the Bruins began a stretch of winning four of five games to put themselves back into a playoff position. Now Boston is regaining its health while proving they can compete with the conference’s best teams.
As soon as the puck dropped on the 2017-18 season the Bruins began dealing with injuries. Patrice Bergeron was forced to miss the first five games of the season with a lower-body injury. Once Bergeron was ready to return to the lineup it seemed as if the revolving door of injuries began. As soon as one player returned another player went down.
Marchand, Backes, and Bergeron haven’t been the only ones who have missed multiple games due to injury. David Krejci has only played in 11 of Boston’s 23 games so far this season. Adam McQuaid has only played in six games. Even minor injuries took a toll on the team as Torey Krug has missed four games and Jake DeBrusk was forced to miss the Tampa Bay game with an upper-body injury.
On top of the all the injuries to skaters, goaltender Tuukka Rask suffered a concussion in mid-October forcing him to miss three games. Since his return, Rask hasn’t played up to his usual standards but it’s only a matter of time before the 30-year old regains the form expected from him.
Somehow despite Rask’s struggles, the Bruins haven’t skipped a beat with backup Anton Khudobin perhaps being most responsible for saving Boston’s season despite all the injuries. Khudobin hasn’t lost in regulation while posting a 7-0-2 record.
With the Bruins overcoming injury after injury along with a struggling franchise goaltender it’s amazing the team is still somehow in a playoff spot. With Boston getting key players back in the lineup and Rask expected to re-discover his game, the Bruins likely aren’t going anywhere but further up the Eastern Conference standings.