We live in a world where competing is no longer the priority, and cashing checks is the most important aspect to many athletes. We have a savior in the sporting world.
That savior would be playoff hockey.
When it comes to the excitement and intensity, there are few things quite like playoff hockey. March Madness and the World Cup rival it, but in my humble opinion playoff hockey takes the cake as the best tournament to watch on live television.
As the NHL season is coming down the wire there is a team hotter than anyone else, and it just so happens to be the hometown Boston Bruins. In a region that has has a world of riches when it comes to sporting teams success, especially in 2018-19, the Bruins are picking up where the Patriots and Red Sox left off. Let’s please not talk about the damn Celtics right now!
The B’s currently on a seventeen game point streak, and have boosted themselves to second place in their conference, good for the third best overall record in the entire league. Sitting at 40-17-9 with 89 points with sixteen games remaining, the Bruins are firmly in place to make the playoffs..
The Eastern Conference at the moment is topped by the Tampa Bay Lightning, and unless something goes horribly wrong they will be the one seed, as they have seventeen more points than the second place Bruins with only fifteen games left to play. Boston is a very good team, but Tampa Bay is an excellent team, and it looks as though it’s starting to all come together for them after many close to championship winning years.
As difficult as winning nine of the last ten has been for the Bruins, the Lightning have won nine of the last ten too. Their greatness has been consistent, and many times dominating. A bright spot for Boston is that Tampa’s one loss during that streak has come at the hands of the Bruins in a 4-1 beat down last weekend.
The Capitals, as the reigning champs, still possess much of the firepower and danger they had last year. The Toronto Maple Leafs are very strong. At the end of the day, the Eastern Conference goes through Tampa Bay.
If the Bruins want any chance at raising Lord Stanley’s Cup,that is who they will have to beat in a seven game series. Boston will have to take advantage of every opportunity when they are a man up. They have the second best power play success percentage (26.7%), and power play goals (55) for the season. The only squad that betters them is, once again, Tampa Bay.
The Bruins goalie tandem of Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak has been surprisingly fantastic this season, and having two fresh goalies going into the playoffs could be of massive importance.
The wiley vets have been astounding up top, as Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron have combined for 137 points in 115 games. That is a duo that has experience, grit, and finesse to lead the scoring charge.
On the back end it has been the grandpa and the baby holding down the fort. Zdeno Chara has been turning back the hands of time, playing much better than expected at such an advanced age. Charlie McAvoy has been the young phenom most people thought he would become. Boston is not defunct of talent, experience, or most importantly toughness; making this team a very strong Cup contender come April.
The Boston Bruins have been extremely impressive over the last two months. I was in full football and basketball mode, but with the excitement they’ve brought to the ice every night, it’s been impossible to ignore this team.
Tampa Bay is no joke, and it’s hard to see anyone getting by them this season, but there’s something strange going on in Boston this year. I won’t be the one to count the Bruins out.
The playoffs are all about who’s the hottest and the toughest, and the Bruins have both of those trends going for them. A season that seemed mediocre from the beginning now has legit championship aspirations, and as we know in playoff hockey… anything can happen.
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