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Sports Power Rankings: Red-Hot Bruins Emerging as a True Stanley Cup Threat

16:01  13 february  2018
16:01  13 february  2018 Source:   si.com

Rask extends success streak, Bruins beat Maple Leafs 4-1

  Rask extends success streak, Bruins beat Maple Leafs 4-1 Rask extends success streak, Bruins beat Maple Leafs 4-1David Pastrnak and Torey Krug each scored on a power play in the second period and Patrice Bergeron added his team-leading 22nd goal for Boston. Tim Schaller had an empty-netter as the Bruins collected at least a point for the 20th time in 21 games, moving four points ahead of Toronto for second in the Atlantic Division.

  Power Rankings: Red-Hot Bruins Emerging as a True Stanley Cup Threat © Derik Hamilton/AP

When the Bruins fell to the Sabres on Saturday, goalie Tuukka Rask took the decision in the tilt, marking the first time he’d been stuck with a regulation loss since November.

At the time of that loss (4-2 to the Oilers), Boston was 10-8-4, a middling team that hadn't quite found its stride. The Bruins have lost just six times since, with four of those coming via overtime or shootout, giving them 76 points on the season. They’re tied with Vegas for second in the league, with a game in hand over the Golden Knights, and sit three points back of Tampa Bay having played two fewer games than the Lightning after Monday. They also have a goal differential of +49, second-best in the league.

Gerald Stanley trial: Closing arguments scheduled for Thursday

  Gerald Stanley trial: Closing arguments scheduled for Thursday Gerald Stanley trial: Closing arguments scheduled for ThursdayBATTLEFORDS — Lawyers on both sides of the Gerald Stanley trial are expected to deliver their closing statements on Thursday.

Why isn't Boston considered a much bigger contender? There’s probably a few reasons: The Bolts have a much more explosive offense along with the leading Hart candidate. They have three really, really good lines while the Bruins have one game-changing trio.

But to discount Boston would be a mistake. There’s veteran experience. The defense is solid, and blueliner Charlie McAvoy is a budding superstar. Not many teams, if any, have an answer to the line of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron?David Pastrnak and the rookie class is a solid one. Tuukka Rask should be a Vezina finalist.

A possible playoff matchup with the Lightning would have to see the Bruins play incredibly disciplined. That vaunted top line would have to produce and the penalty kill would have to be on-point. It wouldn’t be easy by any means, but this Boston team looks like it has a strong chance of making a run.

'Bring drums': Boushie support rallies planned in Saskatoon, Regina after Stanley not-guilty verdict

  'Bring drums': Boushie support rallies planned in Saskatoon, Regina after Stanley not-guilty verdict 'Bring drums': Boushie support rallies planned in Saskatoon, Regina after Stanley not-guilty verdict People are gathering in Saskatoon, Regina and other Canadian cities Saturday to show their support for the family of Colten Boushie after Gerald Stanley, a Saskatchewan farmer, was acquitted Friday of responsibility for Boushie's death. "There is no justice!" yelled people in the courtroom after the jury foreman read out the verdict Friday night. Moments earlier, the presiding judge had urged calm despite the "raw emotions" felt by those in the room.

31. Arizona Coyotes

Record: 14-32-10

Last week: 31 (-1)

A nice win against Minnesota! A competitive matchup with Winnipeg! Things are trending up. Well, kind of.

30. Buffalo Sabres

Record: 16-30-10

Last week: 30 (-)

The Sabres came up with good showings against good teams in Boston and Colorado over the weekend.

29. Ottawa Senators

Record: 19-26-9

Last week: 29 (-)

Things were picking up a bit for the Sens with back-to-back wins before losing against Toronto. Matt Duchene has started to get in on the action.

28. Vancouver Canucks

Record: 22-28-6

Last week: 27 (-1)

Thomas Vanek should bring back something nice for the trade deadline. So should Alex Edler. That's really about it.

27. Montreal Canadiens

Record: 22-26-7

Last week: 28 (+1)

How much does Max Pacioretty get in return at this point? His shooting percentage is his lowest since 2009-10.

26. Detroit Red Wings

Record: 22-23-9

Last week: 26 (-)

They played Boston tough and that was with Jimmy Howard in net. Could he or Petr Mrazek be on the move at the deadline?

Report: Bruins interested in deadline deal for Oilers' Maroon

  Report: Bruins interested in deadline deal for Oilers' Maroon Report: Bruins interested in deadline deal for Oilers' MaroonA pending unrestricted free agent, Maroon carries an affordable $1.5-million cap hit, and could bring some added size and a scoring touch to the Bruins.

25. Edmonton Oilers

Record: 23-28-4

Last week: 24 (-1)

Not sure where that 6-2 win over Tampa Bay came from, but can you imagine how bad the Oilers would be without Connor McDavid?

24. Florida Panthers

Record: 24-23-6

Last week: 25 (+1)

They’re 5-1 in their last six, with 28-year-old rookie goalie Harri Sateri providing a boost as James Reimer and Roberto Luongo get healthy.

23. New York Rangers

Record: 27-24-5

Last week: 22 (-1)

They’re making the right decision by selling at this point (and being transparent about it). The key will be to see how much they can get rid of.

22. Chicago Blackhawks

Record: 24-24-8

Last week: 23 (+1)

Things are starting to fall off the rails here. Yes, they miss Corey Crawford in net, but they are simply playing poorly.

21. Carolina Hurricanes

Record: 26-21-9

Last week: 21 (-)

The Canes are starting the sell off. Notice that goalie Cam Ward is playing a lot more now.

20. New York Islanders

Record: 27-24-6

Last week: 20 (-)

It's becoming increasingly weird that the Isles haven't made a trade for a goaltender. How expensive can a guy like Robin Lehner be?

19. Columbus Blue Jackets

Nilsson with 44 saves, Canucks beat Bruins

  Nilsson with 44 saves, Canucks beat Bruins Nilsson with 44 saves, Canucks beat BruinsVANCOUVER - Loui Eriksson scored his second goal of the night late in the third period and goaltender Anders Nilsson stopped 44 shots as the Vancouver Canucks beat the Boston Bruins 6-1 on Saturday night.

Record: 28-23-4

Last week: 18 (-1)

Two options for Columbus: Make a splash at the deadline, or start to offload assets.

18. Philadelphia Flyers

Record: 28-19-9

Last week: 19 (+1)

Two good wins in a row against Carolina and Montreal. The Vegas game showed how good the Flyers can be when things are clicking.

17. Anaheim Ducks

Record: 27-19-11

Last week: 14 (-3)

The stopped the bleeding with a win over Buffalo, and followed it with three more points in games against Edmonton and San Jose. Adam Henrique has five game winners so far in his short tenure in Anaheim.

16. New Jersey Devils

Record: 27-20-8

Last week: 11 (-5)

Keith Kinkaid has played well in Cory Schneider's stead, but back-to-back losses to Ottawa and Calgary were rough.

15. Colorado Avalanche

Record: 30-21-4

Last week: 10 (-5)

The Nathan MacKinnon injury has understandably cooled things off a bit, but they do have a nice stretch coming up with games against the Habs, Oilers and Canucks.

14. Los Angeles Kings

Record: 30-20-5

Last week: 15 (+1)

Anze Kopitar is quietly having a great season, but there still remains nothing behind him and not nearly enough to make a run.

13. Calgary Flames

Record: 29-19-8

Last week:

They went 2-1 on a Tri-State Area swing, but still have to get through a pair of matches with the Bruins and one in Nashville. Getting away from home has seemingly gotten things back on track for the Flames.

Gerald Stanley due back in court to face allegations he improperly stored 7 guns

  Gerald Stanley due back in court to face allegations he improperly stored 7 guns Gerald Stanley due back in court to face allegations he improperly stored 7 gunsStanley, 56, still faces two charges of improperly storing firearms on his Biggar, Sask.-area farm where Boushie was killed.

12. San Jose Sharks

Record: 30-18-8

Last week: 13 (+1)

Rangers forward Rick Nash should be the target for the Sharks, who are ranked 15th in offense. They already have a good defense, adding a scorer to take pressure off the core group would do wonders.

11. Pittsburgh Penguins

Record: 31-22-4

Last week: 12 (+1)

This is back to being Matt Murray's team, even if he didn't play great against Washington or Vegas. But he's winning, which counts for something.

10. Minnesota Wild

Record: 30-19-6

Last week: 16 (+6)

Their 6-2 win at St. Louis was much more important than the 4-3 OT loss to Arizona.

9. Washington Capitals

Record: 32-17-6

Last week: 6 (-3)

The Caps come back from a rough stretch against Pittsburgh and Vegas to sweep a home-and-home with Columbus. Think they would want Mike Green back?

8. Dallas Stars

Record: 33-20-4

Last week: 9 (+1)

Dallas is quietly playing great hockey,with a five-game win streak before a clunker against Vancouver. The Stars are getting really good play from Kari Lehtonen.

7. Toronto Maple Leafs

Record: 34-19-5

Last week: 8 (+1)

There's talk of the Leafs being sellers at the deadline, which makes no sense. Seems like buying is the right option--they're pretty close.

6. St. Louis Blues

Record: 34-21-3

Last week: 7 (+1)

A very nice win against Winnipeg. Should the Blues try to see if they can get some value for Jake Allen with Carter Hutton performing so well? Probably not after the performance against the Jets.

5. Winnipeg Jets

Record: 32-15-9

Last week:

It was a tough loss against St. Louis. Great to see Mark Scheifele back, though.

4. Nashville Predators

Record: 33-12-9

Last week: 4 (-)

Two straight overtime losses, before a shootout win against Montreal, but Nashville continues to play great hockey, and is a team that no one wants to face in the playoffs.

3. Boston Bruins

Record: 34-12-8

Last week: 5 (+2)

The Bruins continue to close in on the Lightning, and the demolishing of the Rangers shows just how good Boston is… and where the Rangers are right now.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning

Record: 38-15-3

Last week: 2 (-)

Consider the Edmonton loss as nothing more than a clunker of the last game of a Western swing. Don't read into it too much.

1. Vegas Golden Knights

Record: 36-15-4

Last week: 1 (-1)

The Golden Knights followed up the loss in Marc-Andre Fleury’s homecoming in Pittsburgh with a win in San Jose. Fleury's play is slipping slightly, but it hasn't really cost them yet.

Bruins trade Frank Vatrano to Panthers for 3rd-round pick .
The Boston Bruins stayed active as the NHL trade deadline nears, dealing forward Frank Vatrano to the Florida Panthers on Thursday for a third-round pick in the June draft. Vatrano has appeared in 25 games with Boston this season, scoring two goals.The trade deadline is Monday. Earlier this week, Boston acquired defenceman Nick Holden from the New York Rangers for a minor league defenceman and third-round pick in the upcoming draft.Vatrano had career highs in all offensive categories last season with 10 goals and eight assists in 44 games. The 5-foot-9 winger also had one goal in six post-season games with Boston.

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