Originally written September 16, 2013 on isportsweb.com:
(Photo Credit: Comcast SportsNet New England) Three seasons, two Stanley Cup appearances, and one Stanley Cup series win encompasses the Boston Bruins. Is another Stanley Cup appearance brewing this season? Yes, with multiple returning starters coming back with more playoff –more specifically Stanley Cup – experience under their belts, the Bruins definitely have a shot at the Stanley Cup this upcoming season. Who will help lead them advance to the Stanley Cup? The forward, first-line duo of Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand will ignite the offense for the Bruins. Both players are explosive fore-checkers, causing the defense to make mistakes with the puck, creating goal-scoring opportunities. Bergeron tallied 10 goals and 12 assists last season, while Marchand racked in a stunning 18 goals and assists. Marchand lead the Bruins in points with 36, after the 2012-13 season. More impressively, Bergeron and Marchand ranked No. 6 and 7 for their large plus/minus. The combination of the two produced eight game winning goals this past season. The efforts of defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg will edge the Bruins into the Stanley Cup series final. Chara and Seidenberg combined chipped in with 36 points and an average plus/minus of +16 (Chara +14, Seidenberg +18) last season. Each of the two scored two game winning goals to push the Bruins into the postseason. Last season, When Chara scores, it seems to always be when the Bruins needed a goal the most. Out of his seven goals, two of them were game winners and three were power play goals. In hockey, the team’s only as strong as their goalie. Tuukka Rask is in the peak of his career. After completing his first season as starting goalie last season for the Bruins, Rask racked in a mere 10 losses in the 36 games he appeared. Impressively, he only allowed 70 goals for an astonishing 2.00 goals against average. After the 2012-13 regular season, he finished with a .929 save percentage. Rask ranked second highest goalie in the NHL (at least 35 games played) for save percentage. After an unsuccessful Stanley Cup win in the 2013 playoffs, Rask did finish with the highest save percentage (at least 10 games played) of .940. He was in the top five goalies for goals against average (at least 10 games played) with an amazing 1.88. Rask is swift on his skates, making his range from post to post quicker than a jackrabbit on a date. Filling in Tim Thomas’ place, Rask has successful done everything possible to replicate the agility and intensity Thomas delivered. Undoubtedly, the Bruins will win the Eastern Conference finals, advancing them to the Stanley Cup. The leadership and experience as a tight-knit squad will trigger impressive results in the 2014 postseason. Whether or not the Bruins hoist the Cup is a completely different story.
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