It’s a bit early to say the Boston Bruins will definitely be in the second round, but there’s enough there for us to look at their potential second-round opponent.
As far as we can tell from the Stanley Cup Playoffs brackets, the winner of the Boston Bruins and Carolina Hurricanes series could face almost any of the six other teams.
Right now after a vintage display turning a 2-0 defecit around with 4 goals in 7 third period minutes, the Boston Bruins are within one game of moving through to the second round, meaning they’re now only 13 wins away from the Stanley Cup.
Should the sixth, seventh and eighth seeds all advance, the Boston Bruins would be facing the Montreal Canadiens.
Put simply, if the Montreal Canadiens manage to upset the top seeded Philadelphia Flyers, it means a few things. Namely, that Carey Price is in ‘best in the world’ form and that their young group has had a taste of victory and will relish the chance of more.
The likes of Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi are repaying the trust placed in them, while Shea Weber is leading the charge defensively while also chipping in with a decent share of the team’s points himself.
Not quite the final product, but the Montreal Canadiens are a big concern should they advance. In knocking off the Pittsburgh Penguins, they’ve already shown they mean business. Adding the Flyers to that list would be another huge series win for them.
Should the sixth and seventh seeds both advance, that means the first seeded Flyers are still in and face Columbus, meaning we’d draw the New York Islanders.
New York Islanders
The New York Islanders look likely to sweep the Washington Capitals, but don’t exactly look like a potential Stanley Cup winner.
Brock Nelson is their leading scorer, who is rated by Daily Faceoff as the 46th best center in the league. The Boston Bruins have the 10th ranked in Patrice Bergeron, 43rd ranked in Charlie Coyle and 49th ranked in David Krejci.
Safe to say, we have better center depth than the Islanders. With that said though, Barry Trotz has recent pedigree as a Stanley Cup winning head coach and could lead this outfit to victory. A confidence-boosting series win over the Capitals would certainly have them in a good starting place.
Despite being one of our opponents in the round-robin seeding tournament, the Washington Capitals are perhaps the most enticing option as a second round opponent.
They’re looked out-matched by a relatively lame New York Islanders and should we face them, I’d be expecting us to advance without too much trouble.
Alex Ovechkin is always a concern but they are also suffering due to an injury to Nicklas Backstrom. Without him at full fitness as with Braden Holtby not exactly in-form, they’re unlikely to even make the second round, but should they do so, we wouldn’t mind facing them.
The Boston Bruins most likely opponent is actually the Tampa Bay Lightning and that is reason to worry, at least a little.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning have already created one of the more memorable moments of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, with their 5OT win over the Columbus Blue Jackets that saw our game delayed a day!
They have a scary amount of depth to their line-up, evidenced by Yanni Gourde and Brayden Point netting several of their goals, whereas the more renowned Nikita Kucherov has been kept rather quiet.
Add in an injury to Steven Stamkos, who could yet get back out on the ice and find some form and it’s a line-up that certainly presents challenges. Let’s also not forget one of Tuukka Rask’s rivals for the Vezina, Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes.
As far as we can tell, these are the only possible match-ups; it takes a series Washington comeback before we face the Philadelphia Flyers, so we won’t go there. But never say never.
Either way, let’s get the job done against the Carolina Hurricanes first, but the next round is definitely looking juicy for the Boston Bruins.