Previewing the East: Boston Bruins
NOTE: Over the next several weeks, BlueJackets.com will take an extensive, in-depth look at the Jackets' new opponents in the Eastern Conference. Be on the lookout for photo galleries, analysis, video highlights and more!
BOSTON BRUINS SEASON PREVIEW PHOTO GALLERY!
Head coach: Claude Julien
Captain: Zdeno Chara
LAST YEAR: 28-14-6, lost in Stanley Cup Final to Chicago
VS. CBJ ('13-14): 10/12, 11/14, 11/30
OUTLOOK: The Bruins were one of the NHL’s most complete teams a year ago and came up just short in their bid for a second Stanley Cup since 2011. They made a significant trade in the offseason, sending Tyler Seguin to Dallas in a blockbuster deal that brought Loui Eriksson – who may play right wing on the Bruins’ top line - to Boston. GM Peter Chiarelli picked up Jarome Iginla on the free agent market to help offset the loss of Nathan Horton, but the real equalizer for Boston is between the pipes. The Bruins will go as far as Tuukka Rask will take them, and with a new eight-year extension in hand, even more is expected of Boston’s young netminder.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Bergeron has battled injuries throughout his NHL career and played through excruciating pain during the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs, and his well-rounded game has helped take the Bruins to the elite level of the league. He can shut down the opposition’s top players, he can play the point or the wall on the power play, and he can finish and make plays. The Bruins locked the 28-year-old center up with an eight-year extension this summer, making it very likely Bergeron will play his entire career in Boston.
Tim Thomas led the Bruins to their last Stanley Cup victory in 2011 with stellar goaltending, and when he shocked everyone in taking a year off from hockey, there was little issue turning to Rask. The 26-year-old native of Finland, cast off from the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006 just a year after being drafted, found a home with the Bruins right away and certainly paid his dues before earning the No. 1 job in net. He’s one of the top up-and-coming goalies in the league and had terrific numbers in 2013: 19-10-5, 2.00 goals against average with a .927 save percentage.