The Boston Bruins have shown time and time again why they deserve a place in the Stanley Cup Finals.
They were on the verge of elimination against the Toronto Maple Leafs, down 4-1 in the decisive Game 7, but never quit. They came back and won that game in the most epic of fashions, forcing it to overtime before finishing the Leafs off.
From that point on, the Bruins have looked determined to put their mark on the 2013 NHL Playoffs. They showed it again by taking the first two games against the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins on the road, despite the fact no one gave them a chance.
They did it again in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. They rode goaltender Tuukka Rask‘s astonishing performance through two overtimes and prevailed after a physical battle that felt more like a 15-round championship fight than a hockey game. The Penguins brought everything they could to Boston to try to get the series back to a manageable 2-1 margin, but were turned away after nearly 100 minutes of fantastic hockey when Patrice Bergeron worked just a little harder than a Penguins’ defenseman to earn the 3-0 series lead.
It showed, perhaps more prevalently than ever, after Bruins’ center Gregory Campbell suffered a broken fibula while blocking a shot and finished his shift in one of the most impressive displays of persistence you’ll ever see in sports.
So, why would we doubt them now? The Bruins have more heart, determination and will-power than the Penguins could dream of having. They have leaders like Campbell and Bergeron, who give this team an edge that seems almost unfair. A lot of people are jumping on the Bruins’ bandwagon right now because, frankly, they’re an easy team to root for. They play with grit and passion and don’t appear to take their sport for granted.
I’m not ashamed to admit I’ve jumped on the Bruins’ bandwagon 100 percent of the way.