New Look Bruins Aim for Same Results in Stanley Cup Finals
Stanley Cup fever has hit Boston again as the Boston Bruins returned to the Finals for the second time in three years. This year’s match-up looks to be extra special because the Bruins are facing off against one of their Original 6 rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks.
So how do this year’s Bruins compare to the 2011 championship team? The most noticeable different between the two teams is the man in net. Tuukka Rask was riding the bench that year. Tim Thomas was the hero of the entire 2011 playoff run after a great year, earning the Conn Smythe Trophy (MVP of the entire playoffs) and the Vezina Trophy (Best Goaltender in the regular season). Thomas played every minute of every game, setting records for most saves in an entire playoffs (798) and most saves in a Stanley Cup finals (238). Now with Thomas gone, Rask has been the main man for the Bs and he hasn’t disappointed. His stats are actually a little bit better than Thomas’ and Rask has done it in less games.
A lot of analysts have been highlighting the play of Bruins center David Krejci in this year’s playoff run. He currently leads the league in goals scored (9) and total points (21) in the postseason. Krejci was the team’s leading scorer in the 2011 playoffs as well, netting 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 total points. He’s on pace to surpass his personal bests in this year’s Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins also hope to have right wing Nathan Horton available for the entire Stanley Cup Finals series this year. In 2011, Horton was knocked out of the postseason thanks to a blindside hit to the head from Aaron Rome of the Vancouver Canucks during Game 3 of the Cup finals. Horton had to be wheeled off the ice on a stretcher and would not return the rest of the series. The Bruins rallied behind Horton’s injury and took over the series by winning four of the next five games. Despite not playing, Horton had a hand in the Game 7 victory. There is video of him dumping a water bottle onto the ice in Vancouver during the pregame. When asked what it was, he said it was ice from the TD Garden and added, “We wanted to put our ice on their ice and make it our ice.” Before that point, neither the Canucks nor the Bruins won an away game in the Cup finals. After Horton’s Garden ice trick, the Bruins won Game 7 in Vancouver to clinch the Cup.
One of the most noticeable difference between the two teams is the Bruins defensemen. Captain Zdeno Chara has some new faces to help him this year and they’ve been coming up big. Torey Krug, a rookie, has provided an amazing offensive spark, scoring four goals in his first five games. Matt Bartkowski and Dougie Hamilton, who shined in the regular season, are filling in very capably in the limited time they’ve seen so far. The Bruins will need these young guys to step up big in the Finals to take the load off Chara.
The Bruins have some new faces in some very important places but when all is said and done they want the result to be the same. They want to hoist sports’ greatest trophy and raise another banner to the already crowded rafters of the TD Garden.