Mar 1, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla (12) skates during the first period against the Washington Capitals at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Jarome Iginla: Boston Bruins' X-Factor in Hunt for Stanley Cup

Iginla Demonstrates His Skill

All Boston Bruins‘ fans remember the day last year when Jarome Iginla decided to pack his bags and head off to Pennsylvania to play with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins. He was rumored to go to the Bruins in the spring of 2013 but thought that with Pittsburgh, he would have a better chance of reaching the Stanley Cup.

The Bruins ended up thrashing the Penguins in the playoffs–a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Iginla was a free agent over the summer, and Peter Chiarelli didn’t hold a grudge against the 36-year-old veteran for choosing another team over the Bruins. In fact, he welcomed Iginla with open arms, realizing that he could serve as a key component in Boston’s quest for another successful Stanley Cup run.

“As I said back in April, those things happen, they just don’t become as public as they did,” Chiarelli said. “You don’t harbor any ill feelings and I told Jarome that [Friday night] when I talked to him I said, ‘It’s part of the business.’ When Don Meehan called me, I raised my eyebrows and I said, ‘Really?’ I was excited.”

The longtime Calgary Flames’ star inked a one-year, $6 million deal with the B’s last July.

Iginla started out slow for the Bruins in the beginning of the season, netting only one goal in his first nine appearances.

Paired with David Krejci and Milan Lucic on the first forward line, though, he began to get his feet under him and started contributing heavily to the offensive attack of the Bruins.

Iginla, a difficult player to face if you’re a defenseman, displays a strength-speed combination that is almost unmatched throughout the NHL. He is capable of outmuscling defenders along the boards but can also employ light-handed stick moves to skirt past opponents. Above all else, he can put the puck in the net.

In December, Iginla truly showed off his offensive prowess, tallying seven goals and five assists.

Halfway through March, with eight contests still remaining in the month, Iginla has mounted even more impressive numbers: six goals and three assists. He was instrumental in the Bruins’ defeat of the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday, blasting two scores past Hurricanes’ goalie Cam Ward and capturing the B’s leading goal-scorer title.

In the company of Iginla’s tearing opponents apart on the ice, the Bruins’ eight-game win streak may reach very impressive heights.

Even more so, the Canadian winger’s scoring and playmaking expertise could supply the Bruins with that missing ingredient needed to seize the Stanley Cup.

He’s a seasoned professional, and his short Penguins stint shouldn’t be a measuring stick when conjecturing his effectiveness in the 2014 playoffs.

Being a late-May addition to the team, Iginla didn’t have much time to acclimate to Pittsburgh’s style.

However, he’s been fortunate enough to spend a whole season in Boston, skating alongside top-notch players and building noticeable chemistry with his linemates, who have all experienced the embrace of Lord Stanley’s hardware.

Look out for Iginla during the 2014 Stanley Cup playoffs, and grab your Bruins playoff tickets at TiqIQ.com

Tags: Boston Bruins David Krejci Jarome Iginla Milan Lucic

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