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Bruins Depth And Skill Make Them Strong Cup Favorites

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The Boston Bruins are worth a future bet to win the 2020 Stanley Cup and a team to bet throughout the 24-team playoff tournament if the NHL can pull it off.

With all of this time off, one of the main concerns for the Bruins and the other 23 NHL Return To Play 24-team Stanley Cup playoffs, if and when they return,  will be rust. There’s a flip-side scenario though. What if the players are rested and healthy? What if they have a new lease on hockey so to speak, and they gain a fresh outlook on the sport and rekindle their passion for the game?

So, instead of shaking the rust off, we may very well see immediate, high-level play starting on the very first day of the season’s restart. Training camps should take care of the majority of the oxidization, so don’t worry about that. It’s going to be an immediate push for the Stanley Cup by all involved.

How Will It Work

Well, it will be regional. 12 Eastern Conference teams will play in one NHL Hub City, and 12 Western Conference teams will play in another one. The top four teams from each conference are already locked into the playoffs, so they’ll just play a round-robin style for seeding – three games. However, the other eight teams in each conference must play a best-of-5 series to make it into the playoffs. In essence, those teams have to run the gauntlet and It’s not going to be easy. 

The Boston Bruins will enter the playoffs as the new Presidents’ Trophy winner after finishing with the best record in the NHL for the 2019-20 regular season at 44-14-12 and 100 points. The Bruins doubled down by not only winning the most games in the Eastern Conference but also getting the most OTLs in the top seven. The only team with more in the top 8 is the Blue Jackets but they only have 33 wins. 

Here’s what the Eastern Conference Round-Robin will look like:

 

  1. Boston Bruins
  2. Tampa Bay Lightning
  3. Washington Capitals
  4. Philadelphia Flyers

 

Here’s the round-robin lineup Western Conference:

Gagne-Bergeron Pro-Am

 

  1. St. Louis Blues
  2. Colorado Avalanche
  3. Vegas Golden Knights
  4. Edmonton Oilers

 

The Bruins are +600 to win the cup which is ahead of everyone except for the Tampa Bay Lightning who is just a smidge ahead on the odds boards at +550. Remember, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the Lightning is better or that the handicappers in Vegas believe that the Lighting will win. It simply can mean that more money has gone in on the Lightning so they have to adjust the value. 

Why The Bruins Can Win It All

The Bruins have an excellent shot at seeding either No. 1 or No.2 with the seeding process. The Bruins were 1-2-0 against the Lightning this season with their most recent game, the fight-filled 5-3 loss at TD Garden on March 7 five days before the NHL paused its season. Earlier that week, on March 3, the Bruins beat their Atlantic Division rivals 2-1 at Tampa Bay. The Lightning won the first tilt between the two Eastern Conference titans this season back on December 12 in Tampa Bay with a 3-2 decision. 

One of the main reasons the Bruins can power through the playoffs in this Coronavirus altered post-season is because of their powerplay ability. They were killer on special teams this year, and when you look at a typical season, power plays are usually higher toward the beginning of the season, when everybody is a bit rusty. So, we could argue that the Bruins will perform at full force in this regard. After all, at the beginning of this season, Boston bashed in powerplay goals at 35.7% overall through the first month of play and at a nearly 47% rate at home. They also had a phenomenal PK rating as we moved towards spring.

Another reason – and maybe the biggest one – to take the Bruins is their top line of Brad Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak. They’re easily one of, if not the best first-lines in the league. Pastrnak became the first Bruin to win the Rocket Richard Trophy. He and Alex Ovechkin finished the regular season with 48 goals apiece to share the honor. 

The Bruins also come back almost completely healthy as the only key player they will be missing is Kevan Miller. Fellow defensemen Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, and John Moore all missed long stretches of the season as well but all are back healthy and ready to go. With a 99-percent healthy roster, the Bruins are arguably the deepest team in the NHL both on the blue line and upfront and with the reigning William Jennings Trophy winners in Tuukka Rask and Jaro Halak between the pipes, the Bruins possess great value and are a solid bet to win the Stanley Cup for the second time in nine years.

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Joe

Great piece!

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