The post Stanley Cup Playoffs Push: Bruins’ Roar Back Atop the Standings appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

With only 30 days remaining in the NHL regular season, Boston Bruins’ fans and players should feel two obvious emotions: hopeful and petrified. Boston sits atop the President’s Trophy standings again, only without record-setting numbers. Superstitions are the only common denominator that follows that trophy, as the Bruins added their chapter to the supposed “curse” last season. But with 98 points through 70 games and a playoff berth all but clinched, the Bruins have to feel some hopeful bliss about the remaining 12 games, especially with their recent bench depth heroics.

The Emergence of Justin Brazeau

Everyone loves a beautiful “from the ground up” journey to the big leagues. Boston benefits from having one of the NHL’s biggest in Justin Brazeau. Debuting on Feb. 19th, Brazeau has contributed three goals and one assist to the team during their current points streak. But the team is getting more from Brazeau’s contributions that don’t show on the scoreboard.

???? Justin Brazeau reacts following his two-goal game vs. OTT: “I think just getting more confidence every game I play. I think the league almost slows down a little bit when you get that confidence, and you can make more plays with pucks…the confidence is just building for me.”

— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) March 20, 2024

With 27 hits and 3.66 blocked shots per 60 seconds, his tough and defensive prowess has brought much-needed life to the rest of the Bruin’s depth.

A Down Defensive Year Turns Around Just in Time for the Playoffs

The top three defensive lines for Boston are all but set heading into the playoff push. Charlie McAvoy and Matt Grzelcyk lead the front unit, with Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Carlo swinging the second line. “You’re trying to see if guys are comfortable playing the offside, especially when we knew today was going to be a good practice where we would be defending the rush a lot,” said coach Jim Montgomery regarding Boston’s third pairing during practice on Monday.

Matt Grzelcyk Charlie McAvoy Bruins

Mason Lohrei, Parker Wotherspoon, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Andrew Peeke remain as defensive chess pieces. Montgomery will play on the third line for the remainder of the season. The former pair being left-handed and the latter being right-handed are where Boston wants to experiment. Their neutral zone troubles and constant turnovers remain their kryptonite, although it has been remedied. Controlling the puck and limiting turnovers in the neutral zone is the goal. Whether that comes from left-handed control on the third line or right-handed, whichever protects the puck best will be what Jim Montgomery puts to paper come playoff time.

The Battle for the Atlantic

As it stands, the Bruins are in a two-way race with the Florida Panthers to clinch the Atlantic Division. It’s a fitting battle, given the end of last season between the two teams. Home ice will be crucial during the playoffs. Boston’s sole focus should remain perfecting their process and having their lines set before the playoffs begin. A tough test against another Eastern Conference heavyweight in the Rangers will be a huge change for Jim Montgomery to get his ducks in a row.

Next: Unsung Hero: Real Key to Oilers Playoff Success Isn’t McDavid or Draisaitl

The post Stanley Cup Playoffs Push: Bruins’ Roar Back Atop the Standings appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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