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Can Bruins Bring Stanley Cup back to Beantown? A Preview of the 2014-15 NHL Season

Patrice Bergeron will lead the team this season after a summer which saw him named the cover athlete for EA Sports' NHL 15. (Photo: Lisa Gansky, Wikipedia CC)

Patrice Bergeron will lead the team this season after a summer which saw him named the cover athlete for EA Sports’ NHL 15. (Photo: Lisa Gansky, Wikipedia CC)

The 2014-2015 National Hockey League season gets underway Wednesday night with four games, including the Bruins taking on the Philadelphia Flyers at Boston’s TD Garden. The Bruins took home the Presidents’ Cup last season as the team with the league’s best regular season record, but an early playoff exit at the hands of the Montreal Canadiens left the team with a sour taste in its mouth. Look for this to act as fuel for a very talented Bruins team this season.

The Bruins had a painfully quiet offseason in which they did not really bring in any top-six forwards or big name defensemen. That said, the team’s core remains very much the same, which should prove to be a major plus throughout the season. They suffered two rather significant losses in forward Jarome Iginla and defenseman Johnny Boychuk, and have looked within the system for their replacements. An interesting addition to this season’s team will be Bobby Robins, a long time enforcer in Europe and in the minors, who will replace Shawn Thornton on Boston’s fourth line.

Tuukka Rask returns for the Bruins in goal coming off his Vezina Trophy winning season as the league’s best goaltender. An interesting battle has played out throughout training camp for the backup role between Malcolm Subban and Niklas Svedberg, but it seems as though this will be won by Svedberg. At the moment, the Bruins have three goalies listed on their 23-man roster, meaning that the tandem could split time in the backup role, but this will be something to watch for as the Bruins have an unusually high number of games in the first couple months of the season, something that cannot be left solely to Rask.

With a majority of the Presidents’ Cup squad returning this season, there is no reason to believe that the Bruins will not at the very least repeat as winners of the Atlantic Division for the second straight season if everyone remains healthy. I predict the Bruins will win the Eastern Conference, but could have a hard time against whoever comes out of the West, as, yet again, the Western Conference appears to be the tougher conference this season.

The Western Conference has won the last three Stanley Cups (Los Angeles, Chicago, and Los Angeles again) and I really only see a couple of Eastern Conference teams being able to compete with a team that can win the West in a seven game series. I predict that the Los Angeles Kings will again emerge from the West and earn their third Stanley Cup in four seasons, becoming the first team to accomplish the feat since the Edmonton Oilers won the Cup in 1987, 1988, and 1990.

Below are my full playoff predictions for this season.

Atlantic Division

(1)Boston over (WC2) New York Islanders

(3) Montreal over (2) Tampa Bay

Boston over Montreal

Metropolitan Division

(1) Pittsburgh over (WC1) Philadelphia

(3) Columbus over (2) New York Rangers

Pittsburgh over Columbus

Central Division

(1) St. Louis over (WC2) Edmonton

(2) Chicago over (3) Dallas

St. Louis over Chicago

Pacific Division

(1) Los Angeles over (WC1) Colorado

(2) Anaheim over (3) San Jose

Los Angeles over Anaheim

Conference Championships

Boston over Pittsburgh

Los Angeles over St. Louis

Stanley Cup Final

Los Angeles over Boston

After a long summer, it is finally time for some hockey. The puck drops tonight.

Curtis Fraser is a Bruins/NHL Beat Writer and Sports Editor for The Hub. He can be reached at fraserc@emmanuel.edu.

Posted by on October 8, 2014. Filed under Sports. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.