Ranking the Boston Bruins’ 5 Biggest Conference Threats
Ranking The Boston Bruins' Biggest Conference Threats
The Boston Bruins are realigned with some new teams next season in addition to the familiar foes. The Bruins are always competing for the top spot, not only in their division, but their conference. This upcoming year looks to be as tough as ever given the quality and volume of teams that are competing against each other.
For starters, there will be some foes in their own division that will be creating problems for the Bruins. The Toronto Maple Leafs look set to rival the Bruins for top spot in the Atlantic division while the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings are nothing to take lightly either. All three are capable of matching Boston and fighting for every point they can get in what appears to be a ruthless division next season. There may be no time during the season when there is space in the standings between these teams. In addition, with eight teams spread out across the entire eastern seaboard and into the Mid-West, jet lag is going to present itself as a sleeper opponent for a squad who will need to pace themselves more than ever throughout a full season. The Bruins look set to have an easier first half and they will need to capitalize on the opportunities early on before a tougher second half sets in.
The other divison contains some of the best teams in hockey to contend with. The Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers are always difficult teams to beat. Any team with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on it is going to be a threat. As long as the Penguins can stay healthy, they will be favorites to finish top in the conference again. The Washington Capitals and the dark horse team, the New York Islanders, are clubs that never let up on the opposition and can surprise people by coming out of nowhere with some excellent hockey. As long as their effort holds out, they will be difficult to overcome, especially on the road.
Now, here are the ranking of these teams that will be the five biggest threat to the Bruins next season as they adjust to a new conference next season.
Tim Nikolouzos is a Boston Bruins writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @timnikolou
5. Washington Capitals
The Capitals are a team of highs and lows. After starting last season poorly, they surged into the playoffs to the surprise of everyone. They have the talent, but do not always get the results on a consistent basis. The team goes typically as Alex Ovechkin goes. If he has a big year, then so will the Capitals. They will need to tighten up on defense before they make themselves a legitimate consistent threat.
4. Montreal Canadiens
The Canadiens managed to pull off a slight upset and take their division title last season. However, things look different this time around. The roster is only getting older and there were no impact players added. Sure, Daniel Briere can give some production, but is he really going to be the difference maker? No. The team looks too stagnant in the face of better opposition, especially the Bruins and Leafs who have gotten even stronger this offseason. If their goaltending can hold up, they will make the playoffs, but do not expect more than that until some improvement with the squad is made.
3. New York Rangers
The Rangers have so much talent, especially in goal, that it is hard not to count them as favorites to win their division, let alone a deep playoff run. With a new coach, the Rangers are looking for a fresh start. But it will also mean new challenges. He will be the difference maker from last season. His ability to utilize players to their max and to shake up the offensive system, especially their powerplay, will be the deciding factor in the Cup chances for the Rangers.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs are coming into training camp flying high on their massive offseason and revamped management and front office. They have added some notable players while retaining those that will provide cohesiveness to the team. The biggest question mark of goaltending has been addressed and the team looks strong all around. The front office has made it clear that a Stanley Cup is the only goal, going as far as already planning the parade route. If they can roar into the season with this energy, then they will be a hard force to overcome. Adding to the fact that the Bruins are in the same division as them makes an even more potent opposition.
1. Pittsburgh Penguins
The Penguins are arguably the best team in the conference, even more so than the Bruins who swept them in the playoffs. They are loaded with incredible talent around the ice, offense and defense. They have managed to keep almost all their stars, except Jerome Igninla, but that will barely slow them down. As long as they are in the same conference as the Bruins, they will always be a big threat.