_Atlantic Division - GDHQNHL15_2pg-Boston Bruins 1

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Boston BRUINS Key Additions: None Key Subtractions: Jarome Iginla, Shawn Thornton, Chad Johnson Strengths: Great Two-Way Forwards, elite goaltender, defensive depth Weaknesses: Loss of Iginla on the wing Offense The Boston Bruins have consistently been one of the NHL’s most successful franchises, and they’ve mostly done it through their defense. Last year, they found a balance on both ends of the ice. The Bruins tore through the East, leading the conference with 261 goals scored and a franchise-record 117 points. Throughout the season, the Bruins never lost more than two games in a row. The offense will once again be led through the middle of the ice where centers David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron were first and second on the team in points, respectively. They are aggressive on both ends of the ice, and it paid off with two of the best seasons of their careers. Bergeron’s 30 goals tied for the team lead and it was the second best total of his career. His two-way play was well rewarded when he received his second Selke Trophy and a fifth place finish in the MVP voting. Krejci’s 69 points were the second highest of his career and he finished the season with a league leading +39 plus/minus. Bergeron was right behind him at +38. The Bruins rewarded Krejci with a 6-year, $43.5 million contract extension in the offseason to lock up the best two-way center pairing in the league. The team’s biggest offseason loss came on the wing where veteran Jarome Iginla, coming off of a 30-goal season, left for Colorado. They will look to a few more long-time Bruins, in the form of Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand, to pick up most of the load. The team also has versatile weapons on the wing in Reilly Smith and Loui Eriksson, whose disappointing season was punctuated by concussion issues. Smith and Eriksson were the major pieces Boston received in the Tyler Seguin trade, and will be expected to carry a bigger share of the team’s offense. Along the blue line, the Bruins will rely on their captain, Zdeno Chara, to chip in on offense. Chara scored 17 goals last season. He’ll be paired with the team’s most promising young player, Dougie Hamilton, who notched 25 points during his second NHL regular season and added seven more in just 14 playoff games. Defense Even with the offensive explosion last season, the Bruins are built around their stout defensive play. The 177 goals they allowed was 16 fewer than any other team in the East, and their +84 goal differential dominated the rest of the NHL. The closest team in the Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins, managed to do just half as well at +42. Perennial Norris Trophy candidate Chara is the team’s anchor in front of world-class goalie Tuukka Rask. Chara’s second place finish in the Norris voting was the eighth time the 6-9 Czech defenseman has finished in the top five. Chara will once again be paired up with 21-year old Hamilton, who has exploded into the NHL since he was the ninth overall selection EASTERN CONFERENCE ATLANTIC DIVISION Zdeno Chara Bill Wippert/NHL/Getty Images


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