This time of year is special for so many reasons. The air turns fresh and crisp, people start to prepare for the holiday season, and despite the shorter days, there’s a comfort knowing there’s at least one game that you can turn on the TV while settling into the couch for the night.
And the turkey — don’t forget about the turkey.
But perhaps one of the biggest joys so far this year has been the Boston Bruins and their 16-3-5 record through almost two months. So, in the spirit of gratitude, let me share some thoughts that should make you thankful for the team wearing the spoked B.
7. Ric Flair’s “Woo!”
Perhaps one of the sweetest sounds in all of sports, the Garden’s newly renovated rafters have been graced with the renowned serenade 49 times so far this season. Even more impressive than the frequency of “woos” is the total number of home games where the Bruins have scored at least four times (7) in a game. Combine that with the fact that they haven’t suffered a regulation loss at home, and that’s some good home-cookin’.
6. The first line — David Pastrnak, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand
This should go without saying, but this line has put more biscuits in the basket than you can expect to have at your Thanksgiving table tomorrow. With a combined 48 goals, they are averaging just over two goals a game, with Pastrnak leading the way with 23 of his own.
5. Which leads me to No. 5 — Pastrnak
After a lackluster playoff performance last year, the 23-year-old has been lights out, with 23 goals and 16 assists through 24 games. 24 GAMES. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s an average of 1.6 points per game (and did I mention he has two hat tricks already?) He has proven to be dangerous on all fronts including the power play, where he’s netted nearly half his goals (12), and is a particular annoyance for the rest of the league when he’s nestled in the left circle.
It’s easy to lose sight of some of the work put in by both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak when you have the offense stealing the show. But it’s also worth noting that the Bruins netminders have allowed the second-fewest goals in the league (57) — second only to the New York Islanders — despite the team allowing an average of 32 shots per game. Not to mention, you can’t deny the beauty of this save.
3. The new(er) guys
As mentioned above, the first line has done what you’d expect it to do, but seeing production from guys new to the league is just as, if not more exciting to see. Guys like Anders Bjork, Jack Studnicka, and even Zach Senyshyn (before getting injured), have given Bruins fans a peek into the future, and the future is looking bright.
2. The power play
With the third-best power-play unit in the league (31 percent), the Bruins have plenty to be thankful for when it comes to having the extra-man advantage. Stemming from one of the best puck-moving defensemen in the league, Torey Krug has led the charge on the Bruins unit as evidenced by 12 of his 13 assists coming as the primary point man on the PP. Add the duo of Pastrnak and Marchand to that grouping, and it’s easy to see how they’ve been so effective in that particular part of the game.
1. Don Sweeney
The story of the season thus far would be incomplete without mentioning a (very thankful) stick tap to Don Sweeney for the moves he made in the offseason, particularly in the resigning of Brandon Carlo, Danton Heinen and Charlie McAvoy. It’s not easy being GM, but if he can continue to work the magic he has pulled off into 2020, we can rest assured that the success we’ve seen so far in 2019 will carry well into the new decade.
The list can go on (in fact, you can add the most recent 8-1 shellacking the Bruins gifted the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night to the list). But as we head into the holiday, take some time to sit, reflect and recall what you are thankful for this year, because as a Boston fanbase, there’s no shortage to choose from.
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