BRIGHTON, Mass – The Boston Bruins are undoubtedly hitting the Stanley Cup playoffs at exactly the right time.
There has been no talk about peaking too early or backing into the postseason for the Black and Gold, who climbed to the third seed and posted a dominant 12-4-1 record following the NHL trade deadline where they thoroughly fortified their lineup by acquiring Taylor Hall, Mike Reilly and Curtis Lazar in two deadline deals.
Since then, the B’s have outscored their opponents by a 58-32 margin and piled up the even strength goals after that had been a major team weakness for the last few seasons. The Bruins were so much better during 5-on-5 play, in fact, that they jumped from second-to-last in the NHL prior to the trade deadline all the way to 14th in the league by the time the regular season had concluded.
In essence, the Bruins are playing their best hockey of the season as they ready for a Washington Capitals group that is going to push them hard in every facet of the game over a seven game playoff series.
“It’s no secret that Washington is a team that’s high energy, plays physical and has high-end talent. They’re very deep throughout the lineup, so for us it’s about what we can bring against that,” said Boston Bruins captain Patrice Bergeron. “I think we kind of have some of the same attributes where we can play a heavy game, or we can also play a high-energy, fast game. It’s going to be playoff hockey and that’s what we expect. That’s what we’re looking forward to.
“Obviously I like the way we finished the season. We kept building from one week to the next. I think we have the type of depth that we need. Adversity comes around in the playoffs and everything is not going to be perfect, and then you really on each other take care of that, do the right things and fight through that adversity. You fight to come out on top. I’m really looking forward to that. It’s a special group. One game at a time and really looking forward to [Game 1].”
Put it all together with relatively good health and a strong week of practice and the Boston Bruins feel totally prepared for Saturday night’s Game 1 against the Washington Capitals at Capital One Arena in Washington DC.
“All in all, I think guys are in a good place and ready to go,” said Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. “They seem like they’re ready to go and healthy. So, I guess to sum it up we’re in a good place right now as far as how the week went. Let’s see where we’re at. [Game 1] will be the biggest story and we’re ready to go. It’s a bit of an unknown [what the results will be], but I like what I’ve seen this week [leading up to the playoffs].”
The Boston Bruins will know for sure when the puck is dropped on Saturday night, but all signs point to them peaking at the right time against a Capitals group that’s banged up and a bit in disarray as the postseason gets going.