ESPN Points Out ‘X-Factor’ For Bruins’ Stanley Cup Playoffs Run

Taylor Hall, anybody?


March 31

The Boston Bruins will enter the Stanley Cup playoffs as the odds-on favorite to win the whole thing.

Boston, who clinched the Presidents’ Trophy with seven games remaining in the regular season, has been the best team in the NHL all season. The Bruins already set the franchise record for wins (58) and points (121), and leads the league in goal differential (plus-118) and team save percentage (.932).

Given their status as the league’s top team, some might be of the belief that they don’t really need an x-factor to step up once the postseason kicks off. That doesn’t mean they might not have one coming, however.

In fact, ESPN points to Taylor Hall as the Bruins’ biggest x-factor as they play out the remainder of the regular-season schedule. Here is an excerpt from the worldwide leader’s NHL power rankings:

The Bruins have so much going for them; there’s no one player that will really improve their stretch run. The Bruins do need to determine Hall’s status though. Ideally Boston would like to have one of their top wingers back in the mix before the playoffs to ensure he’s fully tuned up. The sooner Hall — absent with a lower-body injury since March 2 — can get back in, the better.

Hall was officially placed on long-term injured reserve since February, but has been practicing with the Bruins over recent weeks. The hope is that he can return over Boston’s final few games, though a report claiming he would was categorically denied by Bruins head coach Jim Montgomery.

Hall’s absence alongside Nick Foligno has opened up some playing opportunities for Jakub Lauko, who has impressed nearly everyone in his limited opportunities. If and when Hall and Foligno are ready, the Bruins will eventually need to make a decision as to who gets the healthy scratch.

Not a bad problem to have.

Thumbnail photo via James Guillory/USA TODAY Sports Images
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