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BOSTON (CBS) – Here’s a fun statistic for you: The last time there was a 48 game season, the Boston Bruins started the year off at 3-0 before falling to the Philadelphia Flyers. The team went on to lose in the first round of the playoffs to the New Jersey Devils. The Devils, on the other hand, began their season with two losses and a tie. They eventually won the Stanley Cup.
Yes, that was 18 years ago; a different game-a different time, but that’s not the point. The point is that it is simply too early to get overly optimistic about anything. Teams are still figuring themselves out. Boston has certainly had the advantage due to their veteran roster and continuous play during the lockout, but sooner or later, the top teams will solve their issues.
Take the New York Rangers for example. The Blue Shirts, a heavily favored cup contender, have had a rough start in their past two games; first falling to the Black and Gold followed by an embarrassing 6-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Henrik Lundqvist allowed four goals and was eventually benched in the loss. Although many hands are hovering over the panic button in the Big Apple, head coach John Tortorella simply stated that the team is “not hard enough mentally.” Things are already moving around in New York; lines are being changed, philosophies are being stressed. They’re figuring it out.
Read: Bruins-Rangers Preview
Boston has had an impressive start so far, but they too are figuring it out. There are still many lingering questions: How will Tuukka Rask perform as the season ramps up? Can Anton Khudobin be trusted to fill the gap? Will the power play continue on its horrendous path? Eventually all questions will be answered, but for right now, it’s simply too early to decide.
The Bruins are 2-2-0 at Madison Square Garden in the last two seasons with three of the four games decided by one goal. The Rangers have dropped their last two games but be prepared for a battle tonight and moving forward.
If there’s one team that WILL figure it out, it’s the New York Rangers.
Follow Mark Feldman on Twitter @Feldman985.