Bruins’ Three Stars: Reilly Smith’s Emergence Puts Him Among Top Performers

Reilly Smith, Roman PolakThe Boston Bruins don’t have high-end star power. They don’t have anyone who’s going to crack the top 10 in scoring, and they don’t have anyone who’s going to make the highlight reels every night, but that’s part of what makes the B’s so impressive.

The Bruins are heading into the league’s two-week Olympic break as one of the best teams in all of hockey. They’re in contention for the top spot in the Eastern Conference, and they have the lead in the Atlantic Division. They have done all of this with just one player in the top 30 in scoring (just barely) and no player in the top 30 in goals scored. Despite that, they’re still in the top five in goals per game, they’re second in goals allowed and they’re the best 5-on-5 team in hockey.

Much of that success, of course, comes from balanced team play. That team play has been even more important given the team’s rash of injuries this season. While team play remains the key to the Bruins’ success, there are still players who have stood out.

Here are the Bruins’ three stars leading into the Olympic break.

First Star — David Krejci
It’s tough not to put the Bruins’ leading scorer on this list, and David Krejci will also head into the break leading the team in points. Krejci’s talent has always been undeniable, but the consistency is something that hasn’t always been there. That has changed this season, as Krejci has had arguably his most consistent season. Krjeci has had two five-game pointless streaks, but that’s been it in terms of slumps this season. He’s centered the team’s most consistent line and remains an important piece of the club’s top power-play unit, which is a big reason the Bruins have a top 10 power play this season.

Second Star — Reilly Smith
We know by now that Reilly Smith wasn’t a “throw-in” in the Tyler Seguin trade, but did anyone expect this? Smith has been the biggest surprise for the Bruins this season and in a good way. The young winger has found a way to fit with whoever he’s skated with this season, and he has certainly found a home on the Boston second line with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Smith leads the Bruins in goals scored, and has been the player everyone thought Loui Eriksson would be when that trade with Dallas was made.

Third Star — Tuukka Rask
There was plenty of pressure on Tuukka Rask when the season began. The Bruins goalie came into this season looking to prove he was worth the big contract he received during the offseason. Just as importantly, Rask is trying to answer questions about a bigger workload. So far, so good. Rask is among the league’s best in all of major goaltending categories. He leads the league in shutouts and has set a new career high in wins. His save percentage and goals against average are right where they were last season, and he’s yet to show any real signs of slowing down.

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