May 21, 2013; New York, NY, USA; Boston Bruins left wing Daniel Paille (20) celebrates with Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) after defeating the New York Rangers 2-1 in game three of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Boston won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

Daily Poll: Are the Boston Bruins now the Beast of the East in the NHL Playoffs?


Sabres fans, I have no love of the Boston Bruins.

It’s hard to explain why – I’m actually a die-hard Boston Celtics fan, and have followed the Red Sox for as long as I can remember.

I don’t like the New England Patriots, either, but I can at least give you two reasons why: Bill Belichick, and that stupid “Pat Patriot” logo they used to have of some weirdo hiking a football.  (I know: they stopped using that a long time ago.  But they were using it while I was growing up, so sue me.)

As for why I dislike the Bruins so much – I don’t really know.  I could blame the whole Milan Lucic incident, but that was just extra kindling on a fire that had long been burning.

Still, I love NHL hockey, and today I am wondering if, love them or hate them, the Boston Bruins are going to represent the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.  The Bruins struggled to get past a very determined Toronto Maple Leafs squad in the first round of these NHL playoffs, needing a miraculous come-from-behind victory in game 7 to even be where they are today.  Sometimes it takes a tough series like that for a club to come together, though, and ever since then the Bruins have looked impressive.   They are one of those teams that are solid in every facet.  They spread their scoring around, so opposing teams cannot simply clamp down on one player.  Their defense seems to be improving with every game, as has Tukka Rask, who has given up no more than 2 goals a games against the New York Rangers in their current series.

Of course, the Pittsburgh Penguins are still playing, the darlings of the NHL.  Most pundits penciled Pittsburgh and Chicago into the Stanley Cup Finals two months ago – but is Pittsburgh built to survive the playoffs?  Sure, their offense is formidable, but their defense has resembled the sort of D you face in a video game; call it the Swiss Cheese approach to hockey.  And let’s not forget the goaltending situation in Pittsburgh: net-minding has been the Achilles heel of this time for a few years now.  Is their offense good enough to make up for the Pens’ chinks in the armor?

And what about the Ottawa Senators – should they be part of this discussion?  They have proven to be quite resilient, this bunch, and have the best goaltender in the East in Craig Anderson.  We all know how invaluable a hot goalie can be in the playoffs – can he carry his team to the Finals?

Tell me what you think!


Are the Boston Bruins now the team to beat in the Eastern Conference?

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