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BHN Lucky 7: Bruins Roll On; Devils On Fire; Knights Cool Down

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Boston Bruins

The Boston Bruins are off to an historic start and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. That’s why their ranked first in the first-ever BHN Lucky 7 rankings.

Starting tonight and every Wednesday going forward this season, we will give you our top three teams in the Eastern Conference and our top three in the West. We’ll then throw in a bonus Lucky 7 team from either the Eastern or Western Conferences. So here’s the first installment of the BHN Lucky 7 rankings:

Legend: PTS: Points P%: Points Percentage, Goal Diff: Goal differential, CF%: Corsi For percentage

Eastern Conference

1.) Boston Bruins (14-2-0, 28 pts, .875 P%, Last 5 Games: 4-1, Goal Diff: +30, CF%: 51.04)

The Boston Bruins are off to such a great start that they’re winning games they have no business in winning. That was the case in Buffalo Saturday night when in the first two periods of their 3-1 win over the Sabres, the Bruins played easily their worst 40-minute stretch of the season but still headed to the third period tied at one. The Boston Bruins find ways to win but not just because they’re lucky but because they’re extremely skilled and deep on at every position. Entering game action on Wednesday night, the Bruins were the highest scoring team in the NHL averaging 4.00 goals per game and the best defensive team in the league, allowing 2.19 goals per game. Plenty of that has had to do with the emergence of Linus Ullmark between the pipes but also the team buying into the system of new head coach Jim Montgomery.

Next 5 games: vs Flyers (11/17), vs Blackhawks (11/19), @ Lightning (11/21), @ Panthers (11/23), vs Hurricanes (11/25)

2.) New Jersey Devils (13-3-0, 26 pts, .813 P%, Last 5 Games: 5-0, Goal Diff: +21, CF%: 59.65)

The New Jersey Devils are finally back! After so many years of stockpiling draft picks and prospects, their youth are coming into their own. The Devils have been an analytics dream and there transition game, as witnessed when all five goals in their 5-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens were off turnovers. The Devils will head into Thursday’s tilt with the Maple Leafs in Toronto having won ten-straight games, and easily the hottest team in the NHL.

Next 5 games: @ Maple Leafs (11/17), @ Senators (11/19), vs Oilers (11/21), vs Leafs (11/23), @ Sabres (11/25)

3.) New York Islanders (11-6-0, 22 pts, .647 P%, Last 5 Games: 4-1, Goal Diff: +14, Corsi For%: 48.38)

If we started these rankings a week ago, the New York Islanders are likely not here. Whether it was injuries or adapting to new head coach Lane Lambert, the Islanders were underachieving again for October and into November. In their last five games though, the Isles are 4-1 and starting to show they can score. Goalie Ilya Sorokin has found his game again as well.

Next 5 games: @ Predators (11/17), @ Stars (11/19), @ Leafs (11/21), vs Oilers (11/23), @ Blue Jackets (11/25)

Western Conference

1.) Vegas Golden Knights (13-4-0, 26 pts, .765 P%, Last 5 Games: 3-2, Goal Diff: +19, CF%: 49.34)

After having their nine-game win streak snapped last Saturday in a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues, Bruce Cassidy and the Vegas Golden Knights have come back down to earth a bit. They went on to suffer their first regulation loss to the San Jose Sharks since the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs in a 5-2 loss on Tuesday night, and there appears to be some neutral zone coverage issues lately. That being said, what Cassidy has done with a non-playoff team from last season and a team that loss goalie Robin Lehner before the season even started, has been impressive and this team’s too talented to get stuck in a rut.

Next 5 games: @ Coyotes (11/17), @ Oilers (11/19), @ Canucks (11/21), vs Senators (11/23), vs Kraken (11/25)

 

2.) Los Angeles Kings (10-7-1, 21 pts, .583 P%, Last 5 Games: 4-1, Goal Diff: -2, CF%: 52.74)

Much like the Islanders, the Kings were expected to be better to start the season but they stumbled through October. Well, the team that took a leap forward last season and made it back to the playoffs appears to be back. The Kings are 4-1 in their last five games and goalie Jonathan Quick has found his game again as well. For those of you that don’t watch the teams out West much, remember this name: Gabriel Valardi. Valardi has scored ten goals so far and he has been the backbone of the Kings’ forward corp. One could argue he’d be Top 5 in Hart Trophy voting to this point.

Next 5 games: @ Oilers (11/16), @ Canucks (11/18), @ Kraken (11/19), vs Rangers (11/22), @ Sharks (11/25)

 

3.) Winnipeg Jets (9-4-1, 19 pts, .679 P%, Last 5 Games: 4-1, Goal Diff: +10, CF%: 49.34)

What an underrated story and pleasant surprise the Winnipeg Jets have been this season. After missing the playoffs last season and going through an offseason in which everyone thought they would blow the whole thing up, the Jets have been of the best teams in the league. They’ve been neck and neck with the Stars and Avalanche for supremacy in the Central and were also missing their new head coach and former Boston Bruins bench boss, Rick Bowness for a bit as well as he recovered from COVID. The biggest reason has been the stellar play of, goalie Connor Hellebucyk who is 7-3-1 with a 2.08 GAA and .935 save percentage.

Next 5 games: vs Ducks (11/17), vs Penguins (11/19), vs Hurricanes (11/21), @ Wild (11/23), @ Stars (11/25)

 

Lucky 7

Toronto Maple Leafs (9-5-3, 21 pts, .618 P%, Last 5 games: 3-1-1, Goal Diff: +4, CF%: 52.32)

No one can argue that based on their roster, the Toronto Maple Leafs should be higher in the standings. However, ever since becoming only the second team to beat the Boston Bruins with a 2-1 win on Nov. 5, the Leafs are starting to look like they do on paper. The star players are stepping up and if they can ever get healthy and consistent between the pipes, the Leafs could be climbing up the standings and the BHN Lucky 7 rankings soon.

Next 5 games: vs Devils (11/17), vs Sabres (11/19), vs Islanders (11/21), @ Devils (11/23), @ Wild (11/25)

 

 

 

 

With 20 years of experience (SiriusXM NHL Network Radio, ESPNBoston, NESN, NHL.com, etc.) covering the Bruins, the NHL, NCAA and junior hockey and more, Jimmy Murphy’s hockey black book is full of Hall of Famers, current players, coaches, management, scouts and a wide array of hockey media personalities that have lived in and around this great game. For 17 of his 20 years as a hockey and sports reporter, Murph covered the Bruins on essentially a daily basis covering their victorious 2011 Stanley Cup run and their 2013 run to the Final as well. Murphy has hosted national and local radio shows and podcasts and also has experience in TV as well.

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