For those who think the Boston Bruins were severely disappointed in losing their regular season finale, a makeup game against the Florida Panthers, and thus missing out on a chance to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference, you may want to think again. It’s not as if they are overjoyed to be facing the Toronto Maple Leafs, who are their opponent in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, but they are very confident that they can run through their list of opponents in the conference, from wherever they are. This all gets underway on Thursday in Boston, and remember that for each of the games in this best-of-seven series, VietBet has Live Betting Ultra available for real-time wagering, not to mention reduced juice for better odds before they drop the puck at the opening whistle.
2018 Stanley Cup Odds – Boston Bruins vs Toronto Maple Leafs:
In the 2018 Stanley Cup Odds that have been posted on this series by the folks at VietBet, Boston is the favorite to emerge and advance to the next round:
Boston Bruins -150
Toronto Maple Leafs +130
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2018 Stanley Cup Odds: CJ’s Take on the Boston Bruins:
The Bruins stumbled a little bit coming out of the gate this season, but then they got very hot before cooling off toward the end. One of the things that is a hallmark of this club is the fact that they are pretty deep, and coach Bruce Cassidy has the ability to move his personnel around in order to accommodate a number of different styles. Cassidy has actually had to do some of this out of necessity, because the Bruins have dealt with a lot of injuries this year. They have also had to use a lot of rookies; eleven in all, in fact. So you have to give the coach a lot of credit for this team coming home with a 50-20-12 record, which counts for 112 points in the NHL standings.
Things start with the superb line of Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak and Patrice Bergeron. When these guys are truly “on” their game, they can do it all. Marchand, who is a dynamic talent, is also somewhat volatile, as evidenced by the two suspensions he picked up this season. But he scored 34 goals and led the team with 85 points. He had five goals in overtime as well, so he is definitely someone who responds under pressure.
Pastrnak tallied thirteen of his 35 goals on the power play, and Boston was fourth best in the league in that category (23.5%). Bergeron is the best two-way player of the trio, and is considered by many to be a genuine MVP candidate.
Players like Rick Nash and Riley Nash, who were listed with “upper body injuries,” should be available for duty during this series, as will rookie defenseman Charlie McAvoy, who missed a lot of time with injuries but was considered a rookie of the year candidate before he went down the first time. McAvoy will make some youthful mistakes, but he is paired with a grizzled veteran, Zdena Chara, the 41-year-old six-time All-Star who towers over most other pro hockey players at 6-foot-9. Chara may not be in his prime (he won the Norris Trophy in 2009), but he was just outside the top 20 this season with a +22 plus-minus figure, and his slapshot is scary.
Expect Cassidy to make liberal use of his rookies, including Jake DeBrusk and Danton Heinen, both of whom scored 14 goals. And maybe the most intriguing rookie they have is Ryan Donato, who went straight from Harvard into the lineup for the end of the regular season and scored five goals with four assists in just a dozen games. The Bruins are very impressed with his ability to win face-offs, and he could well play a key role in the rotation.
One of the things that is very distinctive about the Bruins is that while they can score a lot (#6 in the league in that category) they also have the capacity to frustrate Toronto’s attempts at turning the tempo up. Boston was #1 in the league in defensive efficiency, and it is tough to score on them, even in power-play situations, as they have killed it off 83.7% of the time. This is an outstanding all-around team and a definite contender for Stanley Cup honors.
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