The Boston Bruins are rolling. But are they the best team in the NHL?
They certainly have a strong case after going 18-1-4 over their last 23 games dating back to Dec. 16. The Tampa Bay Lightning, who own the top spot in the Atlantic Division, are the only team with more points (75) than the Bruins (74) and Boston has a game in hand.
NHL.com is so high on the Bruins, in fact, that it ranked Boston No. 1 in its weekly “Super 16” power rankings published Thursday.
The rankings are compiled by taking into account each participating staff member’s “Super 16,” with a point total being assigned to each. The Bruins were the only team ranked in the top three by all 14 participating NHL.com staff members, and they edged out the Lightning, who received one more No. 1 vote than the Bruins (5-4) but were ranked No. 4 by two writers and No. 6 by one, preventing Tampa Bay from sitting in the top spot for the 17th consecutive week.
Here’s what NHL.com wrote about the Bruins, who ranked No. 3 last week behind the Lightning and Vegas Golden Knights:
Hit: Goalie Tuukka Rask is 19-0-2 with a 1.61 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts since Nov. 29. His 21-game point streak is the fourth longest by a Bruins goalie and the longest since Pete Peeters’ 31-game streak in 1982-83.
Miss: Forward Noel Acciari (lower body) and defenseman Kevan Miller (upper body) are out of the lineup. Acciari has missed six games and Miller has missed two. Forward Anders Bjork (upper body) has missed four games and forward Frank Vatrano (lower body) was scratched from a 6-1 win against the New York Rangers on Wednesday.
Boston recently enjoyed an 18-game point streak — the franchise’s longest since the 1968-69 season — that was snapped last Tuesday with a 3-1 regulation loss to the Anaheim Ducks. The Bruins didn’t let the rare defeat linger, as they’ve won four straight, including back-to-back road games against the Detroit Red Wings and New York Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.
Thumbnail photo via Adam Hunger/USA TODAY Sports Images