Boston Bruins: Who Stepped Up the Most in 2013

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Which Boston Bruins Players Stood Out in 2013?

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Greg M. Cooper-US Presswire

The Boston Bruins 2013 season was nothing short of a roller coaster ride.

After the NHL lockout officially came to an end in early January, the Bruins started out the season on a tear. By the time March began, Boston had only two regulation losses to their name (both to Buffalo, ironically). However, it was in this month that the wheels started to come off the bandwagon. Leads were blown, turnovers were countless and you couldn’t help but wonder just how well the Bruins would actually do come playoff time.

Of course, we all know what happened this past postseason in Boston. The first round resembled the back and forth regular season. They’d obliterate the Toronto Maple Leafs one night, then look aimless the next. After surviving thanks to the much-discussed Miracle on Causeway Street, the next two rounds were absolute dominance against the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins.

Though the Stanley Cup Championship dream came to an abrupt end against the Chicago Blackhawks, it was the final chapter of an insanely twisted five months of hockey.

In analyzing the last season for the Bruins, you can’t help but look at the roster and try and identify who it was that really stepped up throughout the year. A lockout-shortened year made it even more important for key players to be at the top of their game. A lengthy slump could’ve been the death-knell for a team that belonged in the postseason.

All things considered, let’s take a look at five Bruins who really stepped up this year.

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Tuukka Rask

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Greg M. Cooper-US Presswire

Let’s get the easy one out of the way. Only in Boston can a player post a .929 save percentage and a GAA of 2.00 and still be questioned. A lack of clutch saves during the team’s slump lead to fans and media alike wondering if Rask could get the job done. Ask Philadelphia Flyers fans if those stats would be called out on their team.

Rask was given one job to do for the Bruins: make sure everyone knew the team wouldn’t struggle thanks to Tim Thomas’ hiatus. Sure enough, he did just that. How he didn’t even get a Vezina nomination is still a mystery.

His postseason was even better, as Rask was the only reason the Bruins won more than a few games. A Boston Stanley Cup win would’ve netted him a Conn Smythe trophy. Playing on a one-year “show-me” contract, Rask made sure Bruins management knew they had their goalie situation all figured out.

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Patrice Bergeron

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Greg M. Cooper-US Presswire

It’s tough to evaluate Bergeron’s season when looking at just scoring statistics. With 10 goals and 22 assists, he didn’t exactly light the world on fire. But Bergeron’s value doesn’t come from strictly offense, and that’s why it was another solid year for the Bruins’ forward.

For yet another season, Bergeron was one of the best two-way forwards in the entire league. Defensively, he was often paired up against the opponent’s top lines, which often resulted in said lines not getting anywhere near the net. He also made the face-off dot his own personal property, commonly out-performing his opposition.

His play in the postseason was essentially a continuation of this, as it was ripe with clutch goals and face-off dominance. The fact that he did so with a laundry list of significant injuries was just a testament to his value in Boston.

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Brad Marchand

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Bob DeChiara - US Presswire

Every team in the league has that player you love to hate. In 2013, Marchand was back to being that guy in Boston.

Like many of the Bruins, he was susceptible to a slump here and there. However, he still led the team in both goals and points. At one point during the year, he was shooting at over 50 percent. Most importantly, he maintained the pugilistic playing style that puts him on opponents’ hit lists.

Come playoffs, he was a little inconsistent. In the first and last rounds, he seemed to struggle. However, against New York and Pittsburgh, he was a pest defined. And what makes him so likable (in New England, at least) is the fact that he can score just as well as he can agitate. If you need expert testimonial towards that, just ask Matt Cooke.

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David Krejci

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Krejci was in need of a bounce back year after a pretty rough postseason in 2012. He struggled mightily against the Washington Capitals, and it was a big reason why the Bruins couldn’t survive the first round.

His 2013 season was a little up and down. He only scored 10 goals, but led the team with 23 assists. Part of the reason for his struggles was the extended slumps endured by his wingers, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. Still, in a shortened season, he gave the team someone to rely on.

However, the postseason was where Krejci came alive. He was scoring at an unreal pace through the first round against Toronto, including a Game 4 hat trick. Krejci was also leading the entire league in points through most of the playoffs.

It’ll be interesting to see how Krejci will deal with the line adjustment of Jarome Iginla instead of Horton next season. If he’s able to maintain the point production he had in the postseason, the Bruins should be just fine.

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Daniel Paille

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Having a talented fourth line is a luxury not many teams have. Paille was a big reason why Boston’s was so effective throughout the entire year.

A combination of speed and grit, the fourth-line grinder was everything the Bruins could’ve asked for. He killed penalties, played crucial minutes when the team was nursing a lead and could be a defensive force at times. Though he’s not known for his scoring touch, he was able to pot 10 goals to go with seven assists on the year.

His importance was put on display in the postseason as well. With only four goals and five assists, he didn’t really light the world on fire offensively. However, a few of these goals were incredibly clutch, especially his overtime winner against Chicago in the Finals. Boston’s fourth line is always getting a significant amount of minutes, and Paille certainly does his part to earn his.

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