Bruins are favorites to win the new East Division in 2020-21

BOSTON, MA. - JANUARY 9: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his hat trick goal with David Krejci #46 and Jake DeBrusk #74 during the third period of the NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets at the TD Garden on January 9, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)
BOSTON, MA. - JANUARY 9: David Pastrnak #88 of the Boston Bruins celebrates his hat trick goal with David Krejci #46 and Jake DeBrusk #74 during the third period of the NHL game against the Winnipeg Jets at the TD Garden on January 9, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald) /
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The Boston Bruins are favorites to win the newly realigned East Division in the shortened 56-game regular season.

On Sunday, the National Hockey League sent out a press release announcing that the NHL and the NHLPA came to an agreement for a 2020-21 regular season. With the agreement comes a much different looking regular season than what fans are used to.

There will only a 56-game regular season and the Top 4 teams in each newly realigned division will qualify for the playoffs. The Boston Bruins were placed into arguably the toughest divisions of the four.

Boston is basically joining the Metropolitan Division for this season and will play and travel around the Northeast. Despite the daunting task of playing the Pittsburgh Penguins, Philadelphia Flyers, and the Washington Capitals eight times, the Bruins are still favorites to win the East Division in the regular season, according to betonline.ag.

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Having Boston as the favorite is a bit of a surprise. They will begin the season by missing the Rocket Richard co-winner from a year ago David Pastrnak, who is recovering from hip surgery, and his 48 goals. Pasta’s linemate Brad Marchand, the Bruins second-leading scorer in 2019-20 is recovering from sports hernia surgery and could miss the opening of the season, despite having a mid-January return date. The Bruins are hopeful Pastrnak can return by mid-February.

Another reason why the Black and Gold are surprise favorites as they will be younger on defense after Torey Krug left for free agency to go to the St. Louis Blues. Captain Zdeno Chara is still unsure if he returns for a 15th season in Boston, but even if he does at 43-years-old, he’s a bottom-six defenseman.

The New York Islanders are coming off a surprising run to the Eastern Conference Final in the playoff bubble over the summer. The Penguins are perennial Stanley Cup contenders and the Flyers are always a tough matchup for the Bruins. The Capitals have been the biggest thorn in the Bruins’ side over the years, winning 17 of their last 19 games against Boston.

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Time will tell of the Bruins’ end up being the East Division winners at the end of the 56-game sprint in the regular season that will span over 115 days. If they do end up winning the division, it will be against the toughest grouping of teams in 2020-21.