Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer (AP Photo)
From recent history, we have seen many Bruins teams struggle out of the gate of the season, even with a full lineup. They have ended up in the playoffs or at least right in the mix of contention. And the way that the standings are starting to shape up there might be a lot of opportunities for the Bruins to surpass some teams that found a way to win early but not be able to continue winning with their style of play. Let’s take a look back to see what has happened in the recent seasons and how they have turned out.
In the 2011-2012 season, they started off at 3-4-0, with no one player scoring over 30 goals that whole season. That team would end up in first place in the Northeast division, only to lose in the first round after seven games. In that season, the Bruins had the best total goal differential in the whole league and seventh most points in the NHL. Coming off of a Stanley Cup winning season they started worse than they have this year, and still managed to put together a pretty good season, even if they didn’t go far in the playoffs.
In 2014-15, the team also went 3-4-0 in their first seven games and ended up missing the playoffs by two points. They lost out on a playoff appearance by losing their final three games, and the last two were against division opponents Florida and Tampa Bay. They also had losing streaks during the season consisting of not one, but TWO 0-4-2 streaks at separate times in the season. That’s only four points of a potential 24 over those 12 total games, with a combined -22 goal differential over that time. Boston missed the playoffs by two points, during a season where they missed out on a whole bunch of points during those two losing streaks. Even if they had gotten 50% of those points during that time, they would have ended up tied for the third place in the Eastern Conference. But that’s the difference between playoff teams and non-playoff teams.
In 2015-16, the Bruins started 3-3-1, just like this year, and finished the season tied in points with Detroit for third place in the Atlantic division, but lost the tiebreaker and had an early start to the offseason. This was a tough way to end a season. To have the same amount of points as the team that makes it but you don’t is disappointing, especially since in game #81 they played Detroit and beat them, only to lose to the Senators two days later by a 5-goal difference. And this game was at home. And the Bruins had also started to sell playoff tickets. It definitely stung.
With all of these examples, there is still a lot to be optimistic about for the rest of the season. With the record that the Bruins currently have, there are endless possibilities of what could happen. They could go on a winning streak when everyone is healthy and secure a top playoff spot early. They could look like they are out of contention, sneak into the playoffs and go a couple rounds deep. Or they could be a top-5 lottery draft pick and get a great player in the summer. No one knows. That’s why we love hockey. Who would have guessed that the Penguins would go Back-To-Back in this era? And who knew that Auston Matthews would score FOUR goals in his first ever NHL game? The NHL is interesting and exciting because of the hope that it gives. We are seven games into the season. That’s 9% into the season. So let’s all just relax, take a deep breath, and wait until at least the All-Star break before we sentence the Bruins season as a failure/disappointment.