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NHL Boston Bruins

2013 NHL Playoffs: 5 Most Important Players for the Boston Bruins

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Five Most Important Players for the Boston Bruins

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins open the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The two teams will square off in a best of seven series to determine who advances and who gets to play golf instead.

The Bruins finished the regular season at home on Sunday night with the ability to take the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, but failed to beat the Ottawa Senators and fell to the No. 4 seed.

After a hot start to the lockout shortened season, the Bruins fell off track a bit towards the end of the year and finished with back-to-back losses. The current struggle relies on the inability to put the puck in the back of their opponent’s net, and they have stayed in a few games based solely on their goaltender, Tuukka Rask.

The Bruins finished off the season 2-5-2 in their final nine games and scored two or fewer goals eight times over those nine games.

In order for the Bruins to make a deep run in the playoffs and contend for their second cup in the span of three years, they will need certain key players to contribute like they should be. The only way a team can fight for a Stanley Cup is to have all the wheels of the cog moving and playing to their expected level.

Take a look at five key players that are important to the Stanley Cup hopes of the Bruins in 2013.

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Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara
Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins Captain, Zdeno Chara, will need to be the experienced veteran leader he is supposed to be. He will lead the defense, using his strength and size to his advantage. If the Bruins want to make a deep run, Chara will need to be the Chara from the 2010-11 Stanley Cup season.

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Milan Lucic

Milan Lucic
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Bueller, Bueller was the thought from most Boston Bruins fans over the final month of the regular season when it came to Milan Lucic. However, the forward seemed to have been revived in the final three games of the regular season. He tallied three points on a goal and two assists in addition to his two fights. Someone awoke the bear.

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Tuukka Rask

Tuukka Rask
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins have one of the best goaltenders in the NHL and he will be a big impact on their playoff run. Tuukka Rask should be considered a Vezina Trophy finalist when the time comes for his 2.00 goals against average and .929 save percentage this season. With the lack of scoring from the Bruins lately, if they want a deep run into the postseason, Rask will need to be the guy.

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Patrice Bergeron

Patrice Bergeron
Michael Ivins-USA TODAY Sports

Patrice Bergeron is one of the most underrated forwards in the game of hockey. He is a key player to the Boston Bruins' success. Although he has been absent from the score-sheet over the last part of the season, the forward will be a big part of the Bruins lineup as they start the second part of the season (the Stanley Cup Playoffs).

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Brad Marchand

Brad Marchand
Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Bruins top scorer (18-18-36) from the 2012-13 season was Brad Marchand. However, the forward only tallied only two goals over his last eight games. After a slight rest before the start of the playoffs, Marchand should be able to gather his thoughts and make an impact starting on Wednesday night.

Justin Soderberg is a Boston Red Sox and NHL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.