The Boston Bruins have tallied a ton of historic accolades this season. They’ve been phenomenal all season, as proof by the observe marks:
Racked up an NHL single-season report 135 factors (topped the 1976-77 Montreal Canadiens report of 132 factors).Broke a group report of 121 factors (set by 1970-71 Bruins).Won the Presidents’ Trophy for the fourth time in franchise historical past and the primary time within the final 10 years.
The Bruins completed the common season with a 65-12-5 report and solely dropped consecutive video games on two totally different events all season. They acquired manufacturing from in every single place on the ice.
Goaltender Linus Ullmark ranked first in wins (40), goals-against-average (1.89) and save proportion (.938). According to MoneyPuck, he owned a .966 save proportion when dealing with unblocked pictures all through the season, which was good for No. 1 within the league.
Then there’s the offensive assault, which was led by David Pastrnak. Boston’s star winger tallied a career-best 113 factors (61 objectives, 52 assists), which was tied for third in the entire NHL. The Bruins completed second in objectives per recreation with 3.64 — regardless of not having Brad Marchand to begin off the season.
All of that is to state the apparent: The Bruins have proved to be an absolute juggernaut this season. But because the web page turns towards the Stanley Cup playoffs, it is price asking an important query: Can any Eastern Conference group truly beat the Bruins in a seven-game sequence?
Let’s take a more in-depth look.
New York Rangers
The Rangers did not precisely have an abundance of success when dealing with the Bruins within the common season. The Bruins outscored their Eastern Conference foes 11-5 in three conferences. The Rangers didn’t win any of these video games:
Lost to Bruins, 5-2, on Nov. 3Lost to Bruins, 3-1, on Jan. 19Lost to Bruins, 4-2, on March 4
Hold on although. Let me no less than clarify why New York might even have the most effective likelihood to take down the Presidents’ Trophy winners. The Rangers solely confronted the Bruins as soon as with their present roster building.
The Rangers landed star winger Vladimir Tarasenko in a commerce with the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 9 after which acquired Patrick Kane from the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 28 so as to add one other key piece for a possible Stanley Cup run. In the lone assembly in opposition to the Bruins with Kane and Tarasenko in toe, the Rangers did handle to outshoot the Bruins 26-24 at TD Garden. Tarasenko registered an help within the loss regardless of not registering any pictures on aim. Meanwhile, Kane recorded two pictures on aim in what was simply his second recreation following his commerce to New York.
Last season, the Rangers had been simply two wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final earlier than shedding to the Tampa Bay Lightning within the Eastern Conference finals. The group gained the primary two video games of that sequence vs. the Lightning. Now the Rangers return to the postseason as a way more well-rounded squad. Kane and Tarasenko have each hoisted Lord Stanley’s Cup up to now, so that they know what it takes to win. In addition, New York additionally added Vincent Trocheck final offseason to present the group a really proficient playmaker as their second-line middle.
Beating the Bruins in a seven-game sequence goes to be a tall activity for any group. But if any group is able to being as much as the problem, on paper no less than, it is the group with the deepest ahead group. That’s the Rangers.
New Jersey Devils
Very few groups have performed the Bruins more durable than the Devils this season. Two of the three contests between these two groups had been determined by only one aim:
Lost to Bruins, 4-3, on Dec. 23Lost to Bruins, 3-1, on Dec. 28Lost to Bruins, 2-1, on April 8
Much just like the Rangers, the Devils at the moment look totally different than they did for his or her first two conferences in opposition to the Bruins. At the commerce deadline, New Jersey acquired Timo Meier from the San Jose Sharks. He has since racked up 9 objectives and 5 assists in 20 video games. Meier’s presence on the third line has given the Devils some much-needed scoring depth behind the likes of Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, Jesper Bratt, and Dawson Mercer.
In the Devils’ lone matchup in opposition to the Bruins after buying Meier, they gave Boston one in all its hardest checks of all the marketing campaign. Devils goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood was terrific in web as he stopped 38 of the 40 pictures that he confronted. Blackwood made key save after key save and gave the Devils each likelihood to come back away with a win. Ullmark was simply higher in that specific contest, as he recorded 29 saves in a 2-1 win.
It is price mentioning that Meier was extremely energetic in that recreation with team-high 5 pictures on aim within the loss. Where the Devils actually got here up quick was on the power-play, the place they went 0 for 3. Opportunities on the man-advantage is the place opposing groups must capitalize in opposition to the Bruins. Boston did draw the eighth-most penalty minutes within the league on the season.
The Devils actually have the scoring depth to hold with the Bruins. However, they’ll must get excellent goaltending with the intention to hold tempo in a seven-game sequence.
Toronto Maple Leafs
You all know the story, nevertheless it must be repeated right here: Yes, it has been the identical music and dance on the subject of the Maple Leafs over the previous a number of seasons. If they really — lastly — could make it out of the primary spherical, something is feasible.
If the Maple Leafs are to exorcise their demons and defeat the Lightning within the opening spherical, subsequent up within the playoffs can be the Bruins. And they may fare properly in opposition to Boston in a seven-game sequence, based mostly off of the regular-season outcomes:
Beat Bruins, 2-1, on Nov. 5Lost to Bruins, 4-3, on Jan. 14Lost to Bruins, 5-2, on Feb. 1Lost to Bruins, 2-1, in additional time on April 6
Going 1-3 in opposition to the Bruins within the common season is not preferrred, however three of these 4 contests had been extraordinarily shut. They even notched a win within the opening recreation whereas taking the Bruins to the brink in additional time only one week in the past.
And Maple Leafs basic supervisor Kyle Dubas did not simply sit on his fingers main as much as the commerce deadline. The group made a flurry of strikes, together with touchdown veteran winger Ryan O’Reilly in a commerce with the St. Louis Blues. O’Reilly has a boatload of postseason expertise and even gained the Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019 in a seven-game victory over the Bruins.
O’Reilly, 32, not too long ago returned to the lineup after lacking a month as a consequence of an upper-body harm. He’s registered simply 10 factors (4 objectives, six assists) since coming over from the Blues, however the addition ought to pay dividends come playoff time, as he is racked up 49 profession factors within the Stanley Cup playoffs.
But as regular, an excessive amount of the stress goes to fall on the shoulders of Auston Matthews. Matthews scored 4 objectives and dished out 5 assists within the Maple Leafs’ opening-round sequence loss by the hands of the Lightning final season. The Maple Leafs will want Matthews’ dazzling playmaking capacity in the event that they wish to remedy Ullmark over the course of a seven-game sequence. If Matthews and firm can produce offensively and Toronto will get strong goaltending, they actually have a good likelihood to take down their Atlantic Division rivals.
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