The Boston Bruins have been doing great since October, winning an NHL-record 65 games. But, according to Charlie Coyle (a veteran forward for the team), that doesn’t mean they are guaranteed to win the Stanley Cup – everyone is starting from 0-0 now!
The Bruins have started their journey to win the championship for the first time in over 10 years with a game against the Florida Panthers. They know that if they make it further, any injuries could keep them from winning against Toronto, Tampa Bay or Carolina, New Jersey, New York Rangers or Islanders. But they are confident because they have a lot of talent and strength on their team.
Coach Jim Montgomery spoke confidently about the team’s upcoming game. We don’t talk about winning the Stanley Cup yet, we just focus on Game 1 at a time. Looking too far ahead can create lots of stress and worry, so the best way to succeed is by staying focused on the present moment.
The Boston Bruins have been the most successful team in the league since 2005 when the salary cap was introduced. They only lost twelve games this season and earned a record-breaking 135 points. This is even more impressive considering that teams used to have rules that prevented them from earning too many points.
The Boston Bruins have been super successful this year, so much that they will have a big advantage in their upcoming playoffs. It all begins on Monday with Game 1 against the Florida Panthers — when it really counts!
Jeremy Swayman, a goalie for the Boston team said, “We are prepared for tough times and when it comes, we want to do our best to be on top.”
Right now, their first challenge is Florida – one of the two teams that were able to beat Boston twice this season.
Last year, the Panthers finished at the top of their league, but unfortunately then lost in the next round. Nevertheless even though they had a slow beginning this season, they were able to clinch a playoff spot in the very last week! Paul Maurice, who has been in charge for 10 years and is coaching his team for the first time this year, called it a difficult task to compete with the Bruins but he and his players are excited to take on that challenge.
Matthew Tkachuk, who had the most points on the Florida team with 109, said, “We are up against an amazing team. We could really do something special if we prepare and put in effort.”
The Lightning and Maple Leafs will play against each other for the second year in a row during the first round. Tampa Bay won last year’s series after seven games, before they lost to Colorado in the final match – which could happen again this year. But this is Toronto’s chance to win their first playoff series since 2004.
Paul Bissonnette, a retired player who now works on TV says that the tougher adjustments made by the team will lead them to win the first round. He explains that while the Bruins have been strong offers in the Atlantic Division, it’s anyone’s guess who will win in the Metropolitan side of East playoffs. The Carolina Hurricanes have won their division three times back-to-back, and they have to open against the Islanders.
“We really need our best players to be doing their best if we want to succeed as a team,” said Don Waddell, the general manager. “The whole team needs to file in and score goals not just some of us though.”
The Rangers must take advantage of the players they got at the trade deadline, like Patrick Kane and Vladimir Tarasenko. These two may be their biggest help, but Alexis Lafrenière, Filip Chytil, and Kaapo Kakko scoring while others are trying to obstruct their top two lines is also important.
Mika Zibanejad, who plays in the first row of the center position, said that every line is an important part of the team. He also states that it’s really fun to watch them play and their contribution is very valuable. The other team, New York has benefited from reaching East Final last year and gained good experience. On the flipside, New Jersey does not have such advantage even though one of its players Jack Hughes can generate 99 points each time he plays. They do have something special which is speed.
The Devils have made it back to the playoffs for the first time since 2018 and they are really fast. During playoff hockey, their opponents might need to work hard just to catch up with them!
Coach Lindy Ruff said that even players who usually don’t hit have been hitting. This means that we have to use physicality and win more puck battles. We’ve answered all our challenges so far with success, but now the question is how can we keep winning in the playoffs? Goaltending should be an area we focus on as well.
The Bruins, Leafs, Hurricanes and Devils are the teams with a special advantage in the first round of hockey games, according to FanDuel Sportsbook. But even though these four teams have an edge, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee them victory because goaltending has often been known to be a major factor in determining who wins and loses a hockey game.
Boston may have to compete against Sergei Bobrovsky, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner. Toronto must face Andrei Vasilevskiy, the 2019 Vezina Trophy holder and 2021 playoff MVP. Carolina will have to battle likely Vezina finalist Ilya Sorokin. And New Jersey needs to go up against reigning Vezina Trophy champ Igor Shesterkin.
Having such strong goaltenders could lead to some crazy unpredictable results in the playoffs. As Waddell said, “Some really good teams might not end up making it through the first round. That’s just how it goes in the playoffs”.
Tim Reynolds wrote this report.
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