Bruins still at odds with another Stanley Cup title

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Bruins still at odds with another Stanley Cup title

The Bruins didnt change the composition of their roster much aside from the bizarre departure of goalie Tim Thomas, and their chances of winning the Stanley Cup havent changed all that much according to the odds-makers in Las Vegas.

Per the good people at Bovada (www.Bovada.lv) the Pittsburgh Penguins hold the best 8-to-1 odds of winning the Stanley Cup next season despite no major upgrades on their roster aside from the expected good health of Sidney Crosby. The New York Rangers are just behind with 9-to-1 odds after trading a few non-essential players and parts in exchange for Rick Nash after falling in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

The Philadelphia Flyers are 14-to-1 as the next East team most likely to win the Stanley Cup, and the Boston Bruins still sit as the fourth-most favorite team in the East with 16-to-1 odds to capture their second Stanley Cup in the last three years.

The Bs and Flyers both sat with 14-to-1 odds of winning the Cup at the beginning of June, and the Tim Thomas exodus is the most logical reason for Bostons odds of winning it all dropping ever so slightly. Its interesting to note how little change theres been among the Eastern teams from June to August as most of the best available free agentstrade pieces have moved to Western Conference teams aside from Nash moving to Madison Square Garden.

Also of interest on the other end of things the Columbus Blue Jackets have gone from 75-to-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup to an NHL-worst 100-to-1 odds after dealing away their franchise player in Nash.

Here are the odds team-by-team with no adjustments made for a potential work stoppage thats creeping up on the league if theres not a CBA in place by the Sept. 15 deadline:

Pittsburgh Penguins 81

New York Rangers 91

Vancouver Canucks 111

Los Angeles Kings 121

Philadelphia Flyers 131

Chicago Blackhawks 141

Detroit Red Wings 151

Boston Bruins 161

St. Louis Blues 161

Minnesota Wild 181

San Jose Sharks 201

Buffalo Sabres 221

Carolina Hurricanes 221

Nashville Predators 251

Tampa Bay Lightning 251

Washington Capitals 251

New Jersey Devils 281

Edmonton Oilers 301

Toronto Maple Leafs 351

Florida Panthers 401

Anaheim Ducks 401

Colorado Avalanche 401

Montreal Canadiens 401

Ottawa Senators 401

Phoenix Coyotes 401

Calgary Flames 501

Dallas Stars 501

Winnipeg Jets 501

New York Islanders 751

Columbus Blue Jackets 1001

Krug: Bruins collapse 'is not going to happen this year'

Krug: Bruins collapse 'is not going to happen this year'

BOSTON – Having lost three games in a row for the first time under Bruce Cassidy at time of year when you can’t drop into losing streaks, Bruins fans clearly want some sense of surety when it comes to the B’s making the playoffs.

Well, they got an ironclad guarantee from Torey Krug after he was the best B’s player on the ice in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden. Krug has been a part of the teams that collapsed in each of the past two seasons and the puck-moving defenseman said things are going to be different this time around with nine games to go.

“I haven’t thought about it, I haven’t talked about it. It’s a different feeling this year. [A collapse] is not going to happen this year. I know we’ve got a lot of pride in this room,” said Krug, who elevated his game and scored on a nifty, Bobby Orr-esque one-man rush up the ice in the third period. He also had a team-high seven shots on net and led the B’s in ice time in the loss. “The guys that have been through it. There’s no other option except making sure we stay on course and take care and do our jobs.

“You feel like you played pretty well and things didn’t go your way. You make a big mistake and it cost you. You got to realize what’s done is done, and we have an important task on Thursday [vs. the Lightning]. We’ve got to come to the rink with no other option except winning that game. That’s the mindset we’ve got to have.”

The Black and Gold are still in a pretty good position when it comes to the playoffs, even if their lead over Toronto in the Atlantic Division is precarious right now. But it ultimately comes down to Boston summoning against Tampa Bay and the Islanders what they didn’t, or couldn’t, against Toronto and Ottawa, and making good on Krug’s defiant words following a bitter defeat. 


 

Bruins hope familiar lack of finish isn't cropping up again

Bruins hope familiar lack of finish isn't cropping up again

BOSTON – Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: The Bruins outshot an opponent, lost and then lamented their lack of finish on a bevy of scoring plays while begrudgingly tipping their hats to a hot goaltender.

It was the scenario for many disappointing losses in the first 55 games of the season under Claude Julien, and it was a little too eerily reminiscent in a 3-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators at TD Garden on Tuesday night. 

Certainly it’s just one game and there has been far too much good as of late to believe the Bruins are cannon-balling into a pool of previous bad habits. But giving up a goal in the second period while watching Craig Anderson make 18 second-period saves at the other end of the ice was a stark reminder of the bad old days.

“We struggled up in Ottawa getting through [the neutral zone], tonight I thought we did a better job,” said Torey Krug. “A win against that system is just getting the puck behind them and going in on the fore-check. We’ll take that every time. We did well, but we’ve got to find a way to get more goals on the scoreboard.”

Certainly there some stellar saves: A flashy glove hand on a Noel Acciari backhander from the slot and a couple of stops on Frank Vatrano in tight around the net come to mind. But there were also some light, perimeter play kind of nights from Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak where the turnovers (a combined eight giveaways between the two forwards) and loose play were coming fast and furious.

That’s the stuff that needs to improve after watching Ottawa score on three redirections with bodies camped in front of the net.

“There are some,” admitted Bruce Cassidy when asked about parallels to some darker days earlier in the season. “Some of it you have to give credit to the goaltender you’re playing. Look at his numbers, he’s been very good. I’m not going to look too far back. I think we had good looks off the rush – he [Craig Anderson] made saves. We did have our D come late, get a couple of good looks, and that’s something we’ve really worked on. We had a D join and score. That was actually a nice individual score. So, those parts of our game, I think, it just ebbs and flows over the course of the year where you run into hot goaltending and you have to stay with it.

“That’s when you have to keep the puck out of your net. [In Toronto], we were right there until two minutes to go where even though we weren’t scoring, we were in a position to get points. [Against the Senators] it was a breakdown right after we scored, so I think the focus has to be when you’re having tough luck around the net, you need to get points. And maybe these games end up 1-1, 2-2, they’re going into shootouts or overtime and you accumulate your points that way. I think that’s where the last two games have been disappointing. You know, we should have had points. It may not have been wins, but we should have been there at the end and playing 65 minutes, or whatever it took to finish it.”

The silver lining, of course, is that the Bruins didn't get bogged down in Guy Boucher's 1-3-1 trap and were able to dictate play a bit more while never actually leading in the game. But that does little good when won-loss results and points in the coffers are all that matters in the final weeks. 

Perhaps some of the offensive scale-back in the past few games has been by design after letting up seven goals to Edmonton in the Western Canada road finale, but it’s also about being tougher and more determined around the net.

Ottawa won that net-front battle on Tuesday night and subsequently won the hockey game, so it’s time for the Bruins to do that exact thing if they want better results vs. the Lightning and Islanders later this week.