By: Pierce Brody | Follow me on Twitter @PierceBrody3
The Boston Bruins are gearing up for what will hopefully be a long playoff run. The East is currently displaying a deeper cast of contenders than the West and will provide a daunting road to the Finals, where the reigning champs could be waiting. However, the dominant Bruins have multiple characteristics that set themselves apart from the rest of the playoff field.
One of the most significant strengths of the Boston Bruins is their scoring depth. While they may not have a plethora of top-tier scorers behind David Pastrnak, they have a very balanced and deep lineup that can score at any given time. Being able to easily place topline forwards, like Tyler Bertuzzi, on your bottom lines creates an environment where goals are expected from every line, not just the top ones.
This makes the B’s a very dangerous team to play against, as they can score despite a hard-nosed playoff team shutting down Pastrnak for a game or two. Players like David Krejci and Charlie Coyle know all too well that putting the puck in the back of the net behind the top line constantly forces opponents to strategize how to best contain the balanced core.
Another strength of the Boston Bruins is their goalie depth. They have two premium goaltenders in, Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman, who are capable of world-beating performances on any night. Ullmark has only been among the best goaltenders in the league this season, but his breakout performance this year should provide any offense pause. Swayman has also been a reliable backup and would probably be the starting goaltender on most other teams. After a rocky start to the season, he has shown that he can step up and play nearly as well as his partner. Maybe the Islander tandem of Ilya Sorokin and Semyon Varlamov could compare, but even that comparison is a stretch this season.
Finally, the Bruins’ interchangeable lineups also make them a very resilient team. They have a lot of players that can mix and match up and down the lineup while still producing at high levels. In addition to bouncing back from unexpected injuries and slumps with NHL-ready “spares,” this fluidity makes it difficult for opposing teams to game plan against them, as they never know the defensive and offensive combinations past the top lines.
However, this historic season still shows that the Bruins have some less inspiring qualities. Despite having a top-tier scorer in Pastrnak, beyond him, they have “just” a surplus of higher-quality offensive players like Bertuzzi. While it seems the Bruins can rely on any line to give some scoring touch, teams like the Maple Leafs and Avalanche have multiple top-flight players that can quickly score off a seemingly routine play. Sure, these teams don’t have as much depth as the Bruins, but how often have we seen Auston Matthews win a game nearly single-handedly?
Furthermore, Bruins’ playoff experience is undoubtedly a strength that sets them apart from many teams in the playoff field, except for perhaps the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Bruins have been a playoff team for many years, and they have a lot of players on their roster that have been through the grind of the playoffs before. This experience can be invaluable in winning in the postseason, as the intensity and pressure of playoff hockey are unlike anything else in the sport. While it’s somewhat of a strength, playing through the Lightning presents a unique challenge for a dominant Bruins team.
The Bruins will be a very dangerous team to play against, as they can score from all four lines, easily interchange their lines, and have historic goalie depth. However, weaknesses like a lack of bona fide snipers and middling playoff experience throughout the roster may come back to haunt them. With the playoffs just around the corner, it will be telling to see if the Boston Bruins can use these strengths to their advantage and overcome their few weaknesses.
Leave a Reply