The Boston Bruins were upset in the second-round of the 2014 NHL playoffs. And even after losing Jarome Iginla in the offseason, they might be good choice for your NHL picks this season.
What Went Wrong Last Season?
Not much, really. The Bruins just don’t play well against the Montreal Canadiens. They could have probably beaten any other team in the Eastern Conference in a seven-game series but the Bruins just don’t match up well against the Canadiens. Boston likes to play rugged and physical, and really get under the skin of their opponents. Montreal doesn’t engage in the physicality and simply uses their speed and skating to get around the Bruins. Even though Montreal has the B’s number, the Bruins still found themselves in a Game 7 at home with a chance to win. Disappointing but it’s not as if they were swept.
Boston was one of the best teams in the NHL last season and should be again. As long as they don’t have to face the Canadiens again in the playoffs, they should make it to the Eastern Conference final.
The Bruins didn’t have to face too many offseason changes but as mentioned, Iginla is gone. Although he’s past his prime, he still provided the Bruins with 30 goals and 61 points last season. His departure will be felt. However, the Bruins have been one of the best defensive teams in the NHL over the last five or six years, and they’ve won a Stanley Cup with less offense before. Last year was a real boon for them as they were one of the best defensive teams in the NHL and one of the best offensive teams. If it’s just one of two, they’ll still compete for the conference title.
The core of the team is still here: Tuukka Rask, Zdeno Chara and Patrice Bergeron. This is a veteran team that knows what they have to do. They understand that the team was financially-strapped in the offseason and simply didn’t have the money to make any more moves. That being said, don’t be surprised if the shrew Bruins find a way to create a bit of cap space and possibly add a piece at the trade deadline as they have in recent year.
The Bruins lost Iginla but they’ll get by with less offense. They’ve done it before. They also have some youngsters (Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khoklachev) that will compete for a roster spot and potentially add some depth and energy. They are one of the best defensive teams in the NHL – especially with perennial Vezina Trophy candidate Tuukka Rask in net.
Their division is tough but the Bruins should end up being one of the last teams standing in this conference. If they face Montreal or the Tampa Bay Lightning in the playoffs, it’s probably a coin flip whether they advance. If it’s any other team in their path, they’re likely to be the Eastern Conference champ. They’re at +165 to win the Atlantic Division, +320 to win the East and +800 to win the Stanley Cup.
NHL Pick: Lose In Eastern Conference Final