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12-20-2008, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by MathMan View Post
I'm not sure if Boston is catchable but I think they're more of a 100-point team than a 130-point team. They are on a really hot streak however, and that may lead them to finishing the season with 110-115 points or thereabouts.

Last year they were not a playoff-caliber team. They had a negative goal-differential. They made the playoffs ahead of Buffalo which was a stronger team with a better differential, mostly because Buffalo was unlucky and would score their goals in bunches, so they'd have a few really big wins and many narrow losses.

This year? Somehow they turned into a team with a negative goal-differential into a 130-point powerhouse by adding Bergeron and Ryder. Yeah... Allow me to remain skeptical. I'll grant that dramatic turnarounds are possible (last year's Canadiens, for one) and their goal-differential is beyond reproach. But I have trouble imagining that much of a turnaround in one year.
It's not just Ryder and Bergeron.
Kessel has come into his own, Lucic is going from a 27 point 3rd liner to a 55 point power forward, and Krejci is turning into a PPG center. Add in Wheeler, a further improvement from Wideman, and some great young depth in Hunwick, Sobotka and Nokailanen, and they've been getting improvement from many areas.

The goaltending spike has already been noted in this thread, and that's the first thing that's likely to drop to more normal levels; I don't see Boston maintaining a .930-or-more save% for the rest of the year.
Their playing beyond the norm no doubt, but these are 2 excellent goaltenders (career Sv% of .910+ for each) who are excelling under a solid defensive system. I can see them each putting up career numbers simply due to the system.

Having said all that...
The Bruins have benefitted from a very weak December sched. Looking at the schedule, I knew we would make some ground on the Habs in December. I expect things to even out a bit, and remain tight till April.


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