The wait is almost over. The Boston Bruins have already taken to the ice at TD Garden on Thursday. Wait, that was just a scrimmage. Nevertheless, the Stanley Cup Final nears, TD Garden has the full Stanley Cup Final gear all around.
Some Boston Bruins players, actually the majority of them, will be playing in their first ever Stanley Cup Final.
Let’s start with the defense. You don’t expect your rookies, or the first-year players, as we don’t want to irritate the Bruins captain, to play in many Stanley Cup playoff games before. On the defensive line, Brandon Carlo is playing in just his first post-season, Charlie McAvoy in his third one, Matt Grzelcyk in his second playoff season, Connor Clifton in his very first one.
All four defensemen are poised to start in Game 1 on the blue line for the Boston Bruins. How will they react to play in the Stanley Cup Final?
Maybe the best thing is that they are not starting in a hostile environment as they haven’t quite tasted one like this before. They will have a chance to settle before tasting it in the third game of the Stanley Cup Final in St. Louis.
Zdeno Chara will play in his third Stanley Cup Final and Torey Krug will play in his second Cup Final. John Moore, who will be ready to go as the seventh defenseman would appear in his second Cup Final. On the Bruins defense, there is just one Stanley Cup champion present – Zdeno Chara.
Moving on to goaltenders; Tuukka Rask will be playing in his second final. As an aside, he also was a backup in the 2011 Stanley Cup run, but he didn’t actually ‘play’ in that campaign. Jaroslav Halak would play in his very first Stanley Cup Final – talking about David Backes facing his old team in the Blues, some of those years Jaroslav Halak was the one guarding the goal for St. Louis!
Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Krejci; these three already played in two Stanley Cup Finals. David Pastrnak will finally make his first Cup Final appearance. Last year, Pastrnak was so good in the first two rounds, even enjoying a six-point game. This time around, it’s not as good for the Czech winger, but it doesn’t matter, he would remember eventual Stanley Cup way more than even a 20-point game. The 20-point game would be cool as well, but you know the difference.
David Krejci, with already a ton of Stanley Cup Final experience, will center the line with Jake Debrusk and David Backes. DeBrusk is 22-year-old and Backes is 35-year-old, but both of them will be excited like those little kids playing hockey for the first time in their life. It will be the first trip to the Cup Final for both of them. The 33-year-old David Krejci can just smile at both of these greenhorns on his line!
On the third line, it will be the first Stanley Cup Final experience for all of these players. Charlie Coyle, Marcus Johansson and Danton Heinen playing in their first ever Cup Final. The majority of their success has come at TD Garden; Johansson collected eight out of his nine points at home, while Coyle had nine of his 12 points recorded at home. With the Bruins holding a home-ice advantage, the production from Heinen, Johansson and Coyle at TD Garden can be very helpful.
For the rest of the forwards on the roster, it will be the very first Final appearance as well.Unfortunately, Chris Wagner won’t be there with a probably broken hand, but Sean Kuraly, Noel Acciari and Joakim Nordstrom will be there to help the Bruins with another masterpiece of great fourth line blue-collar work.
Joakim Nordstrom has already won the Stanley Cup in 2015 with the Chicago Blackhawks, but he hasn’t played a single minute in any Final games. He will be ready to go in Game 1 and eager to show that he can win the Stanley Cup actually featuring in the team’s success. Don’t forget his important goal in Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs or his big assist on Wagner’s opening tally in Game 3 versus the Carolina Hurricanes!
Nordstrom has been solid and the Bruins will hope to get a further contribution from their fourth line. The large majority of the Boston Bruins roster will appear in its first ever Stanley Cup Final. Will it be a sweet memory afterwards?