After 18 games, the Boston Bruins are 11-5-2, good for second in the Northeast—three points behind Montreal—and fourth overall in the Eastern Conference. They have improved on last season both offensively and on special teams, and their defense has been as strong as ever. So here is a quick rundown of the five players who have contributed most to the team’s success so far.
On the ice, there is no doubt that Chara deserves to wear the C on his chest. He averages 26:38 per game, which ranks third in the NHL. His plus/minus of 12 leads the team, and is tied for seventh overall in the league.
The NHL's oldest player, Recchi has turned back the clock this year. The 42 year old leads the Bruins in assists and is one of the most central figures on the power play. Boston ranks fourth in the East with the man advantage, scoring 17.6 percent of the time, and Mark Recchi is perhaps the most noticeable presence on the line.
What can one say about Tim Thomas’ season so far which has not been said already? He got off to the best start by a goalie in Bruins history, winning his first six games with a 0.50 GAA and three shutouts.
He has fallen back a bit since then; his GAA skyrocketing to 1.49 and his win-loss record now a paltry 10-1-1. He is the best goaltender in the NHL right now, and who would have thought we would be saying that before the season began?
Lucic had a down year in 2009-10 with only nine goals and 11 assists. This year, he has been on the ice 1:30 longer per game, and already has 17 points (10 G, 7 A). He was limited by injury last season, appearing in only 50 games, but even when he played he did not look like the player who had just signed a three-year, $12 million extension. This season, he is worth every penny.
What a pickup Horton is proving to be! He was acquired from the Florida Panthers in the offseason, and has settled in almost instantly, leading the B’s in points with 18 and like Lucic, has a plus-minus of 11.
If the first six weeks of the season are anything to go by, Horton could be the MVP of a team which is looking like it can make a serious run in the playoffs.