1. Battle of the Heavyweights
The Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers are two of the top teams in a stacked East Division, with the Flyers currently top of the division with a 7-2-1 record and Boston third with a 6-1-2 record. However, both teams have areas they can improve on and that means that both should be battling it out at the top all year long.
For instance, the Bruins currently rank 19th in the NHL at 5-on-5 with an average of 1.56 goals-per-game and 14th in Goals For Per Game (3.11), although the return of David Pastrnak should only help to boost their offense and add a much-needed scoring punch to this team.
On the flip side, though, Boston rank third in expected goals against per game (2.23), they also rank third in Goals Against Per Game (2.22) and Charlie McAvoy is starting to take that next giant leap in his development, averaging 24:35 of total ice time, while the B’s have gotten superb goaltending from their reliable tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak.
Then there is the Philadelphia Flyers who rank 28th in expected goals against per game (2.26) and 18th in the NHL in Goals Against Per Game (3.00), with only the stellar play of goaltenders Carter Hart and Brian Elliott bailing them out. The Flyers have also struggled at 5-on-5 and have allowed 21 goals against at even-strength, so they will need to make considerable improvements if they are to remain the top dog in the East Division.
Overall, there is no doubt that the Boston Bruins and the Philadelphia Flyers are two absolute juggernauts, and they’ve both managed to carve out good starts to the 2020-21 season despite showing considerable flaws. However, both teams have the talent and the experience to be able to iron out any kinks and games like tonight will go a long way in deciding which of these franchises will claim that top seed come the end of the year.