Which team has the advantage along the blue line?
This one is still close, but you can’t deny the numbers. The Bruins, who for the most part all year, have been rotating guys in and out of the six defensemen spots as injuries and COVID protocols have hit the team. But that hasn’t stopped the Bruins from giving up the fourth-least goals allowed per game in the league (2.39).
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With a potential Norris Trophy candidate in Charlie McAvoy leading the way, the group that should be rolled out for the playoffs is McAvoy with Matt Grzelcyk, Brandon Carlo and Mike Reilly, and Connor Clifton and Jeremy Lauzon. The health of Kevan Miller will obviously impact this, but those were the latest line rushes from the B’s.
As for Washington, it’s a group lead by John Carlson, a Norris Trophy finalist last season. The group’s 2.88 goals allowed per game ranked in the middle of the pack.
It’s a familiar face on the other side as Zdeno Chara will be playing against the Bruins. The same guy who raised the Stanley Cup back in 2011, will now be trying to knock off the chances for his former teammates to do just that.
Brendan Dillon is a very underrated, physical defender who will be a pain for the Bruins to deal with down low. Dmitry Orlov has some finesse that can be used in the offensive zone.
Ultimately, with the Bruins being all healthy (for the most part) on defense plus the acquisition of Reilly, it’s enough to put them over the top in this category.