Bruins Should Not Fear Anyone in the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs

( Photo Credit: Winslow Townson / USA TODAY Sports )

By: Matthew Cunha | Follow Me @CunhaMatthew

16-1 is a number Bruins fans have probably heard a lot. You probably know that’s the goal differential in the three games this season between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Boston Bruins. I am sick of it. It’s irrelevant.

The first game took place back in October and was just the 6th game of the season. The next game happened during the Tuukka Rask experiment. The final game happened with Patrice Bergeron out due to injury, Brad Marchand suspended, and Rask’s now retired. They mean nothing. What does mean something? The Bruins extended stretch of success since Jan. 1st and after the strange NHL COVID-19 break.

Taylor Hall and David Pastrnak joined forces on the 2nd line centered by Erik Haula. Jake DeBrusk eventually moved alongside Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the 1st line. The Bruins found a rejuvenated 3rd line featuring Craig Smith, Charlie Coyle, and Trent Frederic. The Bruins goalie situation received clarity, with Jeremey Swayman and Linus Ullmark showing signs of brilliance between the pipes during different stretches.

Finally, the Bruins received much-needed reinforcements with the addition of Hampus Lindholm, providing the B’s with a shutdown top-d pairing that will likely see 30+ minutes of action in the playoffs. Something the Bruins have lacked since Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg were shutting down the Sedin twins en route to the 2011 Stanley Cup championship.

Since the New Year, the Bruins have the 3rd most points in the NHL, only trailing the President Trophy-winning Florida Panthers and the Western Conference-leading Colorado Avalanche courtesy of StatMuse.

Courtesy StatMuse

The Bruins awkward early-season schedule gave them the benefit of playing 56 games in the five-month stretch. Point percentage-wise, the Bruins only rank 6th.

Courtesy StatMuse

The Bruins point percentage only trails the 3rd place Wild by 0.14 percentage points. The point of showing these stats? The Bruins, despite being a Wild Card team in the playoffs, have played like one of the best teams in the NHL since the dawn of 2022. A slow start halted them a little bit when it came to competing with regular-season juggernauts like the Maple Leafs, Hurricanes, and the Panthers.

From a pure roster perspective, the Bruins have things this postseason that has been lacking of late. That includes three lines that have capabilities of producing, unlike in previous seasons where the “perfection” line was expected to do so much. They also have a top-line D pairing that can log 30 minutes of shutdown performance. Those weaknesses ended their run in 2020 against the Lightning and in 2021 against the Islanders.

Another factor at play, there have been some rumblings that the captain, Patrice Bergeron. An impending free agent may retire after the season (hard to think about, I know). I have to imagine, if that is the case, the rest of the Bruins roster will be extra motivated to advance far in the 2022 Playoffs.

When it comes to matchups, the 2022 Bruins should not fear anyone, given their success since Jan. 1st. All the teams in Eastern Conference provide potential problems in what is an open bracket. If they want to win, they are going to have to beat several quality teams on any path. No reason to fear anyone.

It is the best time of the year for NHL fans, and I feel good about the Bruins chances this year. Even more, so than in recent years when I thought the Bruins had some fatal flaws. Buckle up; it should be a long ride.

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