( Photo Credit: Charles Krupa / AP )

By: Danielle DuBois | Follow Me on Twitter @DanielleDuBois

We all know that the Bruins have had an incredible season and are the best team in the NHL. With having clinched a playoff spot and being the top seed in the Atlantic division, why does a regular-season win over the Hurricanes mean anything? 

Technically it doesn’t mean anything, but as Bruins fans, we need to dive into what each game could mean for the future of this franchise. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and Hampus Lindholm were scratched from Sunday’s lineup. With Bergeron and Lindholm nursing some health issues, Jim Montgomery wanted to rest them to ensure a fast recovery before the playoffs.

With three main pieces of the team out, Montgomery went to work switching up the lineups. Switching up lineups before the playoffs is always risky, even for only one game. However, Montgomery’s plan ended up working. 

With the first line not playing, the Bruins looked to some of their younger players to step up. We saw 22-year-old Jakub Lauko score in the second period of his 18th NHL game. Not only did he put up a goal, but he skated well throughout the game and played like an experienced player. Unfortunately, Lauko went into the boards late in the third period and exited the game early. 

So why is this all important? Why does it matter that younger players like Lauko had to step up? Well, it matters because we need to see how the Bruins will do after this season. While we still have the rest of this season and the playoffs, we must start thinking about how this team will be next year. Players like Bergeron and David Krejci won’t be around for much longer.

Watching this team without key players allowed us to see what the Bruins will look like in a year or two. Many Bruins fans are concerned about the team’s future, with Bergeron on the verge of retiring. However, with the Bruins loaded with young talent like Lauko, they should be just fine. 

It was also an important game because it was a possible playoff matchup. If the Bruins want to make a Stanley Cup run, they will likely have to play the Hurricanes. We faced off against Carolina last season, and the outcome wasn’t quite what we wanted. However, the Bruins won in overtime despite benching key players. The game was gritty and high-energy throughout, which is precisely what you would expect a playoff game to look like. 

Winning this game allows Bruins fans to be optimistic about the team’s future and the playoffs. Beating the team that eliminated us last season without our first line shows that we have the potential to do that again in the playoffs. The key to beating Carolina is winning on the road. The Bruins couldn’t do that last year, but Sunday’s Raleigh win shows we have the capabilities. Bruins fans can now safely say that the future of the Bruins is bright despite the lack of draft picks.