After wrapping up a successful preseason schedule with victories over the Columbus Blue Jackets and Philadelphia Flyers, the Boston Bruins prepare to open the NHL regular season this week pegged at +2500 on the odds to win the Stanley Cup at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Bruins finished with a 4-2-1 preseason record on the strength of a 1-0 victory over the Flyers on Saturday. However, the club has work to do if it is to improve on last year’s 93-point campaign and return to the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in three years.
The Bruins proved to be road warriors for most of last season, amassing a 25-13-3 record away from home. However, it was a 2-6 road slide down the stretch that ultimately bounced the club from the postseason picture, despite the fact it finished alongside Detroit in the Atlantic Division standings.
Pressure will be squarely on goaltender Tuukka Rask this season to repeat the 36-win performance that earned him the Vezina Trophy in 2014. As well, Zdeno Chara and Torey Krug lead a defensive corps in decline, while youngsters Colin Miller, Brandon Carlo, and Joe Morrow hope to have an impact on the Bruins’ blue line this season.
While the Bruins will miss departed forward Loui Eriksson, who tallied 63 points last season, former St. Louis Blues captain David Backes is expected to contribute some toughness up the middle after signing as a free agent in the offseason.
However, the Bruins are expected to struggle to keep pace with the top two teams in their division last season, trailing both the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers at +650 odds to win the Atlantic Division.
The Bruins also have plenty of company in the middle of the Stanley Cup odds, where they are deadlocked with five teams, including the Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Detroit Red Wings, and Montreal Canadiens.
Boston kicks off the season with a three-game road trip, starting in Columbus with Thursday’s game against the Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena, before traveling to Toronto for a date with the Maple Leafs on Saturday, followed by a visit to Winnipeg next Monday.
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images