Even with their regular season success, the Bruins aren't too concerned with having a "target on their back" entering the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Photo by Joe Makarski, Bruins Daily.
The success that the Boston Bruins have compiled these last four seasons has been nothing short of extraordinary: two Eastern Conference titles (2011, 2013), a President’s Trophy (for the best record in the 2013-14 season) and, of course, their Stanley Cup triumph three years ago.
It didn’t come to a surprise when Vegas labeled the Bruins as the odds on favorite to capture their second Stanley Cup in four years. But this year comes with a little extra territory.
In years past, even the year after they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in seven games, the Bruins didn’t enter the playoffs with the big target on their backs. This year, given all they accomplished, it is certainly a different story.
So, is it a challenge that the Black and Gold are looking forward to? Or is it something they aren’t paying attention to? Or could it be a little of both?
Either way, the B’s, as they usually say, are more focused on their game, rather than any discussion outside the dressing room
“Maybe from the media,” David Krejci said about the perception of the Bruins being one of the favorites in the playoffs. “But we know what we have in this room and we know what we can do as a group. What’s happening outside the dressing room as much, so we just have to go out there every single game, and do our best and try to win every single game.”
Whatever success the Bruins have accumulated in the regular season is a thing of the past. Their track record during the playoffs in the last four seasons are also a thing of the past.
As they began their preparations for the Detroit Red Wings Tuesday at the TD Garden - with several guys missing as they rest from the “flu bug as described by Claude Julien - they now know that everyone’s record heading into the postseason is 0-0.
“Being a team that’s been successful for awhile, and being a team that has won the Presidents’ Trophy, you’re not surprising anybody,” said Jarome Iginla, who has faced the Red Wings twice in the playoffs during his days in Calgary in 2004 and 2007. “There’s no questions that teams want to knock you off, but no matter who you’re playing in the playoffs, you want to knock them off so your season keeps going and ultimately have a chance to win.”
“I think teams wanting to knock off the top team happens more during the regular season,” Iginla added. “And fortunately, at the end of it we ended up being that team during the regular season. But playoffs, whatever team you’re lying up against, you want to beat them as bad as you can and as the series goes on, the dislike grows for each other.”
With injuries to veterans Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, both of whom missed considerable amount of time during the regular season, some consider this Red Wings team to be aging. Others think their core of youngsters like Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist and Brendan Smith (brother of Bruins’ forward Reilly Smith), can give their team a shot in the arm heading into their first round matchup.
Given the Red Wings track record the last two decades, the Bruins, despite losing three times to them during the regular season, couldn’t have asked for a better situation to improve their status among the NHL Elite.
For what it's worth, EA Sports' NHL 14 simulated the Stanley Cup Final as it is. According to it's most recent simulation, the Bruins will beat Joe Thornton and the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Final. Take that to the bank, if you will.