The Bruins will get another shot at the Stanley Cup when Boston officially begins its quest Aug. 2 against the Philadelphia Flyers in the round-robin tournament.
As you know, the B’s came within a game of raising Lord Stanley at TD Garden last year, but wound up losing to the St. Louis Blues in Game 7.
Now, the revenge tour is back on after a near five-month hiatus.
There are plenty of questions surrounding the Bruins and their return. But the long layoff could prove to be beneficial to the team, particularly for veteran players like Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand. Plus, Tuukka Rask also got some rest before heading into what hopefully will be a lengthy playoff run.
There’s no telling just how Boston will perform once the NHL resumes, but here are five reasons why the Bruins are Stanley Cup contenders:
They have the experience
This isn’t the Bruins’ first rodeo, and there aren’t too many roster changes from last June’s Game 7. The core of the team was part of the 2013 Stanley Cup squad that ultimately lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6, while a select few were on the 2011 Stanley Cup championship team.
It’s probably safe to assume the Bruins have a ton of motivation heading into the postseason given last year’s outcome. And fans have seen this team fall behind in games and series only to come back in dramatic fashion.
The Bruins have one of the best goalie tandems in the NHL
Both Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak were stellar throughout the regular season, but Halak was a big reason Rask was able to get some much-needed rest before last year’s Stanley Cup.
Just how good was the duo? Well, they combined for the league’s lowest goals-against and highest save percentage.
Rask was tied for second with five shutouts, while leading the league with a 2.12 GAA. Lest we forget the starting goalie also posted a .934 save percentage and 2.02 GAA in last year’s playoffs.
The team is healthy
With the exception of Kevan Miller, the Bruins should be 100 percent, which could spell bad news for the other teams.
Usually come playoff time, teams are battered and bruised and playing through some pretty extensive injuries. But with over 16 weeks to heal, rest and get up to 100 percent, the B’s should be able to pick up where they left off. Their health, mixed with their depth on the blue line could — and should — make for a very dangerous Boston team.
The power play
The Bruins’ power play and penalty kill were nothing short of spectacular this regular season.
The special teams units can boast plenty of talent and proved that with a kill percent of 84.3 — good for third in the NHL. The B’s power play was second in the league, converting on 25.2 percent of their chances.
It will be crucial for Boston to kill penalties in order to knock off its opponents and advance throughout the playoffs. And a fully healthy, ready-to-go-team could be the difference-maker in games.
The top line
The trio of David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron had incredible chemistry throughout the regular season. And even though they didn’t exactly dazzle during last year’s Cup run, they all were battling significant injuries.
But a healthy and well-rested Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak could spell trouble for opponents. Between their speed and ability to find one another through traffic and get the puck to the front of the net, they should be able to return to form and be absolute pests once the puck drops.