( Above Photo Credit: Getty Images )
By: Thomas Nyström Follow Me On Twitter @nahstrom
At the end of the Stanley Cup finals last year, the hockey world was buzzing about the Nashville Predators and their astoundingly rabid fanbase, and the loathsome Pittsburgh Penguins were preparing to raise yet another banner. Meanwhile, Vegas was just starting to put it all together. No, not just the Golden Knights… I’m talking the other team: the Vegas oddsmakers. When NHL betting lines began to come out in June of 2017, The Boston Bruins were given just 33-1 odds to win the cup in the 2017-2018 season (according to bovada.lv). That put them at 17 in the league, and essentially a fringe wild-card team at best.
Well, Vegas isn’t always right, and I’d venture a guess that we all are wishing we’d put just a few bucks down because the Bruins appear to be very much in the hunt. As of writing this, the Bruins sit 2nd in the Atlantic Division just 3 and 9 points behind Washington and Tampa Bay, respectively in the conference. Boston has also played fewer games than both teams.
According to hockeyreference.com, the Bruins now possess a 17.8% chance to reach the Stanley Cup finals, and a 10.1% chance to win the whole thing. This is a far cry from their preseason betting odds and any logical analyst looking ahead at the season prior to opening the 2017-2018 regular season. This percentage is second highest of all teams behind the Lightning. Yes, higher than the Capitals, Vegas, Nashville, and Pittsburgh. Above any other original six team which is obviously a victory for the organization and it’s die-hard fan base, albeit usually an unspoken one. Statistical analysis is backing up the buzz behind Boston who are now on a 13 game point streak and haven’t suffered a regulation loss in what seems like an eon.
The production coming out of the youth on this team have exceeded expectations, the coaching staff has handled any and all adversities quite well, and the organization may have a little more depth down in Providence than originally thought. The P-Bruins sit 8th in the AHL in win percentage despite a roster who has been the victim of call-ups and injuries. The last three months of the regular season will inevitably test that depth, and it may be a big part of how we look back on this season in Boston when all is said and done.
Perhaps the depth will be addressed as the trade deadline, where the Bruins could likely use a defenseman, and a right winger at the NHL level, and I could certainly make an argument for goaltending depth in Providence. As of right now, I find myself trusting the organization to make the right moves more than I have in recent memory. Time will tell if I change my mind on that one — and believe me when I say, you’ll hear about it on my twitter if I’m left eating my words.
As we approach the all-star break next weekend, Boston fans have a lot to be happy about. The last half of the season will no doubt be as exciting as it’s been since 2013, and certainly more so than what was thought back in June.
Writers note: 33-1 odds for the Bruins may have brought a nice return, but could you imagine if someone took a shot and hit on the Vegas Golden Knights at 150-1? Dear Lord Stanley.
Thomas Nyström, Contributor.
Follow me on Twitter @nahstrom