Bruins Have Second Best Odds to Win NHL Eastern Conference, Rangers Favorites to Win Stanley Cup

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Bruins Have Second Best Odds to Win NHL Eastern Conference, Rangers Favorites to Win Stanley CupIt was a quiet NHL trade deadline but the Boston Bruins were one of the more active teams. They acquired three veterans to boost their current roster in Brian Rolston, Mike Mottau  and Greg Zanon.

Overall, the Bruins appear to be playing better these days with a 2-0-1 stretch. They return home on Tuesday to face the Ottawa Senators, a team they have now defeated eight straight times.

Odds to Win the 2012 Stanley Cup

New York Rangers: 11/2
Vancouver Canucks: 6/1

Home sweet home

The Bruins are back home after a six-game road trip and the results are pretty much consistent with how they’ve played in 2012: not a success, but not a failure.

Boston managed three wins in six road games, which isn’t bad by NHL standards, but the Bruins should be held to a higher standard because they are the reigning Stanley Cup champs.

The good news is that the Bruins finished up the trip 2-0-1 in their final three games and appear to have some momentum on their side. That’s crucial considering they haven’t won back-to-back games since January 10th-12th.

The Bruins picked up a rather easy 5-3 win over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and they’ll again face them on Tuesday to complete the home-and-home series. The Bruins have already beat the Sens four times this season while scoring at least four goals in each meeting and 19 in total.

Thomas getting back to form

Tim Thomas hasn’t exactly been playing like a Vezina Trophy candidate since the All-Star break (2.56 GAA) but he has played a little better of late. On one hand, he’s allowed less than three goals just twice in his last seven but he’s never allowed more than three either in that same span. His .910 save percentage in February is a far cry from his record-setting .938 last season, but at least he’s giving his team a chance to win.

The good news is that Thomas has now won three of his last four starts, and a little more scoring support should help him stay on the winning track.

Bruins weapons slumping

One of the reasons the Bruins have been so inconsistent lately is that their offense comes and goes. Although they’ve led the league in goals scored for most of the season, the well has gone dry in February. The Bruins have been shutout four times this month and have scored two goals or less in seven of their 12 games.

A number of their players are slumping as Milan Lucic has just one goal in his last seven, Tyler Seguin has just one in his last 13, Benoit Pouliot has just one in his last 21 and Chris Kelly has just one tally in his last 16.

Bruins chances to win Eastern Conference

Bovada lists the Bruins as the second likeliest team to win the 2012 NHL Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins: 13/2
Pittsburgh Penguins: 12/1
Philadelphia Flyers: 13/1

Bruins productive at trade deadline

It’s pretty clear that the Bruins needed a boost of some sort and the front office decided to use the trade deadline to create that spark. Unlike most Stanley Cup champions in their follow-up seasons, the Bruins actually had plenty of cap room to play with.

The Bruins acquired 39-year-old forward Rolston, who is a versatile player in the midst of a tumultuous season. He previously played with the Bruins from 2000-04 and the hope is putting him into a playoff race will help him wake up from a season-long slump.

Meanwhile, the Bruins also picked up a pair of defensemen in Mottau and Zanon, who should help round out their depth on the blue line. Zanon is among the perennial leaders in shots blocked and goaltender Thomas will love to have him around.

© 2015 New England Sports Network

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