Bruins’ First Half Showing Promise

With the first half of the season in the books, the Boston Bruins sit at second in the Eastern Conference. While they will enter the final part of the season in a good position, they are expected to be busy leading up to the trade deadline. The first 51 games, however, were full of historic and unforgettable moments. As the Bruins try to return to the postseason, they will look to build on their strengths and learn from their weaknesses.

In the first half, David Pastrnak, who is already one of the game’s best, took his game to another level. Last year, the former first-round pick set a career high with 37 goals and 43 assists. So far this year, he is on pace to shatter those numbers as he already has 37 goals and 33 assists. He also leads the league in goals and has the fourth-most points.

While Pastrnak is putting together an MVP-worthy season, the Bruins top line has continued to be one of the best in hockey. The trio of Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and Patrice Bergeron have combined for 79 goals and 97 assists. They have again been nearly unstoppable and lead the Bruins offense.

Additionally, Anders Bjork has shown of late that he is capable of handling a top-six role. In 43 games this season, the Notre Dame product has eight goals and seven assists. He also has one power play goal and has become one of Bruce Cassidy’s most-trusted penalty killers. After years of battling injuries, Bjork is finally starting to live up to his potential and providing a boost to the Bruins top six.

While Bjork has emerged offensively, Brandon Carlo has become one of the Bruins’ best defensemen. In 51 games this season, Carlo has four goals and a career-high 12 assists. He has looked more comfortable offensively adding a new aspect to his game.

Furthermore, Carlo has been a shutdown defenseman on the Bruins’ second pairing. So far this year, he has blocked 60 shots and landed 93 hits. He breaks up plays before they develop and has added a bit of swagger to his game. While the Bruins have been hit with injuries on the blueline, Carlo has played the best hockey of his career and established himself as a franchise defenseman.

While the emergence of Bjork and Carlo has been a welcoming sign, the Bruins have one glaring need heading into the seasons second half. Like last year, the defending Eastern Conference champions need another scorer to avoid relying on their top line. They also must execute better late in games as this has hurt them over the past two months.

While the Bruins’ season is far from over, starting Friday night, the margin for error becomes much smaller. They will need Pastrnak to continue his MVP level of play and other players to step up. If they can accomplish that, a deep playoff run could be in store after a successful first half.

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