Zdeno Chara is still arguably the best defenseman in the National Hockey League and Tuukka Rask is a favorite to win the Vezina Trophy this season. Toss in enviable forward depth and a solid defense corps behind Chara along with a seasoned coaching staff, and there are plenty of reasons why the Boston Bruins are the first team to qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season.
The Bruins punched a ticket to the playoffs Friday night by winning their 11th straight game, fittingly with a near-flawless defensive performance in a 2-0 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.
Chara has been his usual minute-munching, forward-crunching self this season. He once again plays nearly 25 minutes per game and always faces the toughest matchups, and Chara, who turned 37 earlier this week, should again be up among the top candidates for the Norris Trophy. He won the trophy in 2009.
Here are five more reasons the Bruins are heading back to the playoffs: