For almost half a year, hockey fans will be waiting for the end of the season in the NHL. But there is an obvious favorite in the tournament this time. You don't have to be an expert to appreciate the strength of the Boston Bruins. However, even the brightest teams are not protected from falls. Therefore, today we will try to answer two questions: what is the success of the Bears based on, and who can push them out of the place of the best club in the championship?
Boston Bruins: Unstoppable Now?
The Bears lead the Eastern Conference by 10 points after 43 games. And that's without considering the game in hand they have compared to their two closest pursuers, the Hurricanes, and the New Jersey Devils. So, for fans of the NHL Stanley Cup Odds on Bodog, looking at the Bruins' accomplishments, it seems like one of the options to take advantage of the chance to win.
The statistics are unambiguous: the Boston club is among the leaders in goals scored (166), and it misses the least (94). In addition, the Boston Bruins are extremely strong at home. Only recently, they lost at TD Garden in regular time once a season.
It was only on January 13, 2023, that the streak was broken when the Seattle Kraken managed to score three unanswered goals against Linus Ullmark. This game may be the key to the question of what can interfere with the Boston Bruins. There is a risk of gradually using up their strength and simply running out of steam by the knockout rounds.
5 NHL Teams That Can Beat the Bruins
Before the end of the regular season in April, by this date, the alignment of forces in both conferences may change more than once. However, several clubs will likely make the playoffs and fight for the cup, along with the Boston Bruins.
5. Washington Capitals
Bet on the Caps seems risky enough because this season, the team did not work out from the very beginning. However, after a near-disastrous start, she managed to even out the situation, and now the chances of reaching the playoffs are estimated at 80%.
Before the start of winter, the only consolation for Capitals fans was that Alex Ovechkin passed Gordie Howe in career goals and got even closer to Wayne Gretzky's record. However, the medical staff recently managed to please them with great news.
After injuries, Tom Wilson, Nicklas Backstrom, and T.J. returned to the lineup. Oshie. With them, Peter Laviolette will surely be able to transform the team's game.
4. Minnesota Wild
In terms of playoff performance, there are very few examples in the history of the Minnesota Wild when the team came close to winning the Stanley Cup. But now the "Savages of Minnesota" managed to pick up. And a lot of hints that, in this case, the results in the playoffs may change aside.
The team made a strong showing at the end of 2022 with an 11-4-0 streak. In many ways, this can be credited to Frederick Gaudreau, who caught his game. In December, 6 goals and 9 practical actions were recorded on his account. Among the reasons to add the Minnesota Wild to the list of shadow favorites are the actions of goalkeeper Filip Gustavsson, who began to go on the ice more often in the starting lineup instead of Marc-Andre Fleury.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning
Last season, the offensive potential of the Bolts was primarily based on Victor Hedman. In the current draw, the statistics of the Swedish defender so far do not look so impressive: 28 points in 39 games against 85 in 82 in NHL 2021-2022. But in the regular season, his teammates Brandon Hagel (17 goals, 37 points) and Brayden Point (25 goals, 45 points) played out.
If we evaluate the Tampa Bay Lightning as a whole, the team has practically no components that look weak. And when she is in good shape, few will be able to compete with her in head-to-head confrontations.
2. Toronto Maple Leafs
A bright symbol of Toronto's success is Mitch Marner, with 54 points in 45 meetings. Opponents can only record the current achievements of the star on the official NHL website. In a victory against Florida on January 18 that ended with Nylander's overtime shot, the 25-year-old Marner extended his 19-game scoring home streak.
With the confidence to look into the future of the Toronto Maple Leafs, the presence of two high-class goalkeepers, Matt Murray and Ilya Samsonov help. Picking a starter for the youngest head coach in NHL history, Sheldon Keefe, along with his staff, is sure to give you more headaches.
1. Carolina Hurricanes
The Carolina Hurricanes have consistently proven their right to be a clear contender for the Stanley Cup this season in the NHL. Historically, a team from the Carolinas rarely boasted over-scoring players, but this time there is no problem with that either.
Martin Necas scored quite unexpectedly with a practical set of points – he already has 39 (17 + 22) points in 44 games. In terms of scoring goals, the team can still add newcomer Max Pacioretty, who managed to distinguish himself 3 times in his first 4 matches.
It is worth saying that the chances of the Hurricanes began to look especially good after a long December series, with points scored in each game. The impression didn't fade much, even after 3 consecutive losses in the first games of 2023 against the NY Rangers, Nashville, and Blue Jackets.
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