What a difference a year makes.
One year ago today Iginla was on his way from the Calgary Flames to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a trade that ended his lengthy run in Alberta and seemingly made the Penguins the odds-on favorite to win the Stanley Cup. Iginla and the Penguins finished their season in the Eastern Conference Final against the Bruins. Ironically, Iginla had picked Pittsburgh rather than Boston when Flames general manager Jay Feaster asked the player to waive his no-trade clause.
It's been a hectic and emotional year since Iginla left Calgary. After the Penguins opted not to bring him back, Iginla signed a one-year contract with Boston in the summer and has scored a team-high 28 goals and emerged as a key cog for a team that's challenging for the Presidents' Trophy. Along the way Iginla has made return trips to Pittsburgh and Calgary and had to adapt to life in a new organization for the second time in a year.
"Yeah, it's been [emotional] but it's gone quick," he said. "It's gone as quick as any year. That usually means it's even more fun when it goes by so quick. Yeah, a lot of different things. But honestly it was probably more emotional last year, just moving for the first time and getting that out of the way and being able to start a training camp here and getting settled early, my family being able to come with me. It was more relaxing than the upheaval of being traded during the year and stuff. So, no complaints."
One the other side of a would-be trade to Calgary from Boston for Iginla was defenseman Matt Bartkowski. When that deal didn't go through, Bartkowski got to stay with the Bruins and be part of their run to the Stanley Cup Final. Now he's a playing as a top-four defenseman.
"You can always learn something. And being a regular is different than my situation before, just going from playoffs to this year. It's just a lot of experience," Bartkowski said about the past year.
The Bruins can clinch the Atlantic Division title if they beat the Blackhawks in any fashion and the Tampa Bay Lightning lose to the New York Islanders in any way. Boston also can win the division if it gets one point against the Blackhawks and the Lightning lose to the Islanders in regulation.
Here are the projected lineups for both teams: