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Previewing the East: Boston

by Bill Roose / Detroit Red Wings
DETROIT – The Red Wings don’t open training camp until Sept. 19 in Traverse City, but over the last eight weeks's Bill Roose has previewed the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference, including the Red Wings’ Atlantic Division rivals in Boston, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Florida and Buffalo. This week it's the Boston Bruins:

Coach: Claude Julien

Last Year: 54-19-9, 117 points (first in Eastern Conference)
Detroit vs. Bruins: 3-1-0
5-on-5 Goals: 179 (first in Eastern Conference)
Power Play Efficiency: 50-for-230, 21.7 percent (third in Eastern Conference)

2013-14 Stats Vs. Red Wings
Player POS AGE rank GM G A PT. GM G A PT.
David Krejci C 28 23 80 19 50 69 4 0 2 2
Patrice Bergeron C 29 37 80 30 32 62 4 0 1 1
Jarome Iginla RW 37 40 78 30 31 61 3 1 0 1
Milan Lucic LW 26 50 80 24 35 59 4 1 2 3
Brad Marchand LW 26 72 82 25 28 53 4 1 1 2
2013-14 Stats
Goalie AGE Rank GM W L OTL GAA SV%
Tuukka Rask 27 5 58 36 15 6 2.04 .930
vs. Red Wings
4 1 3 0 3.29 .871

2014-15 OUTLOOK

Regular-Season Games vs. Red Wings: Oct. 9 (at DET); Oct. 15 (at DET); Dec. 29 (at BOS); Mar. 8 (at BOS); Apr. 2 (at DET).

ARRIVALS:  Goalie Jeremy Smith.

DEPARTURES:  Forwards Jarome Iginla, Shawn Thornton; defensemen Andrej Meszaros, Mike Moore, Corey Potter; and goalie Chad Johnson.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Tuukka Rask had an unbelievable season, winning the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goaltender, marking the third time in six seasons that a Bruins’ goalie has captured the honor. He produced a 36-15-6 record, which featured a career-high, 10-game point streak in March when he posted a 9-0-1 mark. The Bruins led the Eastern Conference in team defense, allowing 2.08 goals against per game. Rask allowed two goals or fewer in 37 of 58 regular-season starts. In their first-round playoff series win over the Red Wings, Rask allowed just six goals in five games. He also set single-season highs in wins and appearances, and was the only league goalie ranked in the top five in every major category – first in shutouts (seven), second in save percentage (.930), fourth in GAA (2.04) and fifth in wins.

SEASON SCOPE: It wasn’t as if they had much of a choice, but the Bruins were comfortable with staying away from the free-agency frenzy this summer. Last season’s Presidents’ Trophy-winning team lost UFA Jarome Iginla – and the 61 points that the veteran forward brought to Boston – but they didn’t have the cap space to make a splash for a high-price forward to fill the void. In the long run, the Bruins feel it’s more important to save money and salary cap to sign guys like David Krejci, Reilly Smith, Johnny Boychuk and Torey Krug to long-term deals in the future.
The Bruins led the Eastern Conference in goals-for (3.18) with five different 20-plus goal scorers, including Patrice Bergeron (30), Brad Marchand (25), Milan Lucic (24) and Smith (20). If they don’t make a move to land a high-scoring right winger, the Bruins will more than likely turn to Loui Eriksson to fill Iginla’s old role on the first line. A former 36-goal scorer, Eriksson, who had just 10 tallies last season, will be given the opportunity to bounce back in his second campaign with the Bruins.

Atlantic Division Metropolitan Division
Buffalo (July 24) Carolina (Aug. 7)
Boston (sep. 11) Columbus (Aug. 21)
Florida (July 29) New Jersey (Aug. 14)
Montreal (Sep. 2) NY Islanders (July 31)
Ottawa (Aug. 12) NY Rangers (Aug. 28)
Tampa Bay (Sep. 4) Philadelphia (Aug. 26)
Toronto (Aug. 5) Pittsburgh (sep. 9)
Washington (Aug. 19)

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