Bruins midseason grades

The Bruins have begun the second half of the 2010-11 season, so it's time to grade the first half.

It was a first half full of peaks and valleys for a squad that, when the season began, many considered a legit Stanley Cup contender. At times, the Bruins have played that way, but they seem unable to do so on a consistent basis.

As the first half winded down and the second half began, the Bruins might have had the most pivotal moment of the season thus far. After a complete collapse Jan. 8 in Montreal in which they allowed two goals in the final 2:22 and then lost in overtime 3-2, the Bruins responded with an amazing comeback in Pittsburgh two nights later. They erased a 2-0 deficit against the Penguins with four goals in the final three and a half minutes. They followed that up with their most complete effort in a 6-0 shutout of the Senators on Tuesday. If they can continue to build on momentum and put some winning streaks together, they could contend for the Stanley Cup.

James Murphy covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.