The Boston Bruins clinched the Atlantic Division title on Saturday with a 4-2 win over the Washington Capitals. The win was the 51st for the Beantowners, who also sit atop the Eastern Conference with 108 points. In their last ten games, the Bruins are 9-0-1 and the team has performed well both at home (29-7-3) and on the road (22-10-3) throughout the entire season.
To say the black and gold are the most dangerous Eastern Conference team entering the playoffs would be spot on.
The team is deep at all positions and spread the wealth around offensively. They have nine players with more than ten goals and 20 assists. They also possess one of the top netminders in the game in Tuukka Rask and their team chemistry is some of the best in the NHL. Watching them put away a scrappy Capitals team - who is battling for the last playoff spot in the East – with ease on Saturday was impressive and it just seemed so easy.
The B's have also been blessed with the resurgence of Jarome Iginla, who reached 30 goals for the first time since his glory days with the Calgary Flames. The two-time 50-goal scorer seems revitalized amongst the savvy veterans of the Bruins and has excelled playing alongside Milan Lucic and David Krejci.
Everything is going right for Boston and they look set for a long playoff run. They do have some competition for the Eastern Conference title in a deadly Pittsburgh Penguins team, as well as a Montreal Canadiens team that has caught fire at just the right time, but in this writer's opinion no one seems more primed to trample through competition in the East en route to the Stanley Cup final than Boston.
This doesn't change my opinion on the St. Louis Blues taking the Cup this season, but a Bruins and Blues match-up in the final would be an incredibly gritty, tough and rugged series that could lack goal scoring at times, but make up for it with all-around solid hockey.
Hard hits, fantastic forechecking, solid goaltending and a series that could be defined by close, one goal games. This is a hockey journalist's dream and maybe the potential of this dream is what is making me predict a Bruins/Blues final, but if that's the case, than so be it. Great hockey will be had and that's all hockey nation is really looking for.