The Boston Bruins have never been a team that will underestimate.
They’ve never truly let themselves be. The Bruins’ brashness has defined them for nearly their entire history. It makes it tough to perceive them as underdogs. Regardless of their squad composition in any given year. Since their rough-and-tumble approach consistently propels them to the forefront of contender discussions.
However, this year’s playoffs are a different story.
Bruins put down to an afterthought in the run-up to the postseason. Sure to open their first-round series on the road against a higher-seeded opponent. However, most hockey pundits rank them as the consensus fourth-best club in their division.
The Bruins are the underdog, both literally and narratively.
However, underestimating them would be a grave error.
None of the 2022 qualifiers will enter the playoffs with a more significant gap between their floor and ceiling than the Bruins. That is a squad that could just as quickly bulldoze their way to the Stanley Cup Final as they could cry out in the first round. You can see an update in OKBET about the stats and playoffs.
The Bruins’ strengths are ideal for the playoff grind.
They are an incredibly seasoned club, led by Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, and newly acquired Hampus Lindholm. They have either won Cups or been on extended runs toward one in the past.
Bruce Cassidy will be able to deploy a unit made nearly exclusively of players who have. As the expression goes, “been there before” during critical occasions. Marchand’s presence is also a significant advantage, with the feisty winger’s characteristic physicality and uncanny ability to get under opponents’ skin to put an entire opposing team off their game throughout a seven-game series.
Pastrnak’s scoring prowess is also capable of swaying entire games independently. When one’s propensity for conjuring up a goal out of thin air becomes the difference between winning and losing. Pastrnak frequently elevates his game to an entirely new level. The 25-year-old has an impressive postseason track record for a player his age. Having appeared in 63 games and scored 27 goals and 68 points. In OKBET sportsbook you can wager on the playoffs of NHL and other kinds of sports.
Pastrnak is a player whose qualities on the other end of the ice may be valuable.
Tosing the annual Selke favorite at opposing top lines on each shift of a seven-game series is quite a luxury. Bergeron is a well-known weapon in these high-stakes encounters. And, with playoff margins so razor-thin that a dry spell from a team’s top contributors may be fatal, Bergeron is the type of player who excels as the temperature warms.
The Bruins can match up with just about anyone up top. However, this comes with the danger of becoming “top-heavy.”
There is not as much depth beyond the lauded trio of forwards and an enviable top-pair of McAvoy and Lindholm as you would see on other contenders.
The Bruins’ forward depth is adequate, with Taylor Hall, Charlie Coyle, Erik Haula, and Craig Smith contributing significantly to the middle-six. However, only Hall ended with 20 goals last season, leaving Jake DeBrusk as the highest-scoring Bruin outside of their Big Three, whose publicly open trade request appears to be on the table.
The blueline is particularly dicey, with no defenseman other than the top two capable of providing primary offense on their own. McAvoy and Lindholm are one of the league’s top one-two punches. Without question. However, the remaining group, which includes Matt Gryzelyck, Mike Reilly, Brandon Carlo, Derek Forbort, and Connor Clifton, lacks confidence and will almost certainly leave the actual workload to the stars.
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