The Boston Bruins officially are at the halfway point of the 2021-22 NHL season.
The first 41 games have had their fair share of drama and injuries, but after a slow start that featured a plethora of positive COVID-19 tests, the Bruins are looking like the team they were expected to be this season.
After taking down the Arizona Coyotes 2-1 on Friday night at Gila River Arena, the Bruins sit in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 25-13-3 record, good for 53 points. The same well wishes couldn’t be said before the calendar turned to 2022, but since Jan. 1 the Bruins arguably have been the league’s best team with an 11-3-1 record.
The halfway point in a season is the perfect to take a step back and reflect and evaluate and that’s what head coach Bruce Cassidy did after Friday’s win.
“We’re halfway in and if you just said we had the same second half as the first half we’re a 50-win team, a 100-point team,” Cassidy said over Zoom after the game. “That will get you into the playoffs, typically. From there how is your game going into the playoffs? How is your health? Those questions will remain to be answered but I think what’s happened this year is most years if you’re on that pace you’re fighting for first place but the (Florida Panthers) and (Tampa Bay Lighting) are right around .700. So we haven’t really been close to them. We’ve made up some ground lately but it’s a solid season.
“There was some hiccups early on and we went through some new bodies that are still getting acclimated and doing a much better job. We shuffled some things around, added a goalie and put one in Providence. All in all I think we’re trending in the right direction. Second half is when you want to be playing your best hockey, hopefully that’s the case for us. We’ve put ourselves in a position to go into the second half in a good spot in the standings. We’re still chasing teams and would love to catch them but we’ve got to make sure our game continues trending in the right direction.”
The Bruins will kick off the official second half of the season Sunday night when they take on the Tyler Seguin-led Stars down in Dallas.
Here are some other notes from Friday’s Bruins-Coyotes showdown:
— Tuukka Rask is dealing with a lower-body injury. The veteran goalie is day-to-day according to Cassidy. Because of that, the team recalled Troy Grosenick from the team’s taxi squad to back up Linus Ullmark.
Cassidy isn’t ruling Rask out for Sunday’s tilt with the Stars.
“We haven’t ruled him out for anything, Sunday in Dallas,” Cassidy said. “We’ll see how he is tomorrow at practice and see how is availability is.”
— The Bruins’ offense wasn’t from their typical contributors in the win against the Coyotes.
Neither of Boston’s goals came from its top line as second line center Erik Haula lit the lamp to open the scoring for theBruins and defenseman Charlie McAvoy sealed the deal with the eventual game-winner in the second period. It was Haula’s fifth goal of the season and McAvoy’s seventh.
— After taking a day off Saturday, the Bruins return to action Sunday night at American Airlines Center. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and all the action can be found right here on NESN beginning with an hour of pregame coverage.