Before we get started, it’s important to state this up front to preempt some of the comments: I am not saying the Bruins’ torrid start to the season is a fluke.
You can only play the teams on your schedule, and aside from a blip here or there, the Bruins have dominated just about every team they’ve played.
However, it’s also not unfair to say that the Bruins are about to face the toughest portion of their season-opening schedule thus far, beginning with tonight’s match-up with the Lightning in Tampa.
With the team set to face many of the league’s other “Big Boys” over the next few weeks, we should have a pretty good idea of what this group is capable of by the time Christmas rolls around.
We can use Christmas as a book-end, but the real highlights on the upcoming schedule start tonight and run through December 11.
In that period, the Bruins will play:
- @ Tampa Bay
- @ Florida
- vs. Carolina
- vs. Tampa
- vs. Vegas
- @ Colorado
- @ Arizona (a nice break)
- @ Vegas
It’s fair to say that some of those teams are “big teams” based on recent pedigree, as some (Colorado, Florida) have gotten off to slow starts this season.
However, aside from Arizona, every team on that list is expected to make noise in the playoffs next spring, and not just in a “happy to qualify” sense.
A relatively smooth ride thus far?
The Bruins have played 18 games in the 2022-2023 season, losing just two (both in Ontario).
Of those 18 games, 12 of them were played against teams currently in 19th place or below in the league standings.
To be fair, the B’s have played three games against teams in the league’s current top 10, winning two; the loss was a one-goal loss against Toronto, while the wins over Dallas (4th in the league) and Detroit (10th) were by a combined margin of 8-2.
It’s not like the Bruins have feasted on the weaklings and struggled against the better teams — they’ve dominated in most wins, and have been right there in the two losses.
Champions, contenders, and hopefuls
Starting tonight, six of the Bruins’ next eight games will be against teams that fancy themselves (and that the oddsmakers fancy) to be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders.
(If you're trying to do the math, I’m leaving Florida out to get to six, as they still have a lot to prove after last season’s flame-out. Obviously Arizona is out.)
The Bruins won’t need added motivation, but there’s plenty of extra stuff to play for over the next few weeks too:
- Two games against Tampa, the recent cream of the crop in your division.
- Two games against the defending Stanley Cup champion Avalanche.
- Two games against Vegas, the team on your heels for the league’s best point total, who just happens to be coached by the guy you recently fired.
- A game against the team that ended your season in a seven-game series last spring.
- A nice game against Arizona, where you get to check out the set-up on the campus of ASU (watch, the Bruins will win 7 of 8 and lose in Arizona).
Again, to jump ahead to those of you who are ready to post that I’m claiming the B’s are a fluke in the comments, I’m not — the Bruins have been utterly dominant for the majority of this season, and they have nothing to fear in any of these teams.
But as happy as you are to see the Bruins pummel Chicago, Vancouver, and Columbus, you know you want to see how they match up with the upper-echelon teams.
We’ll find out over the next few weeks.
How many points do you expect the Bruins to get out of the next eight games?
16 - 80-2-0 here we come!
5 or fewer