The Boston Bruins' offence has arrived. Watch out.
The Boston Bruins were the first team to pass through the first round of the 2021 playoffs, pulling off what was nominally an upset against the Washington Capitals in five games.
While they had to grind out their first two victories in overtime, the underlying results tell a pretty clear story: The Bruins made the slot an absolute no-fly zone at five-on-five, forcing the Capitals to throw low-percentage pucks on net from the perimeter. This kind of stalwart defensive play has been Boston’s bread and butter in recent years, but it was the way they’ve matched it with dynamic offence in the past month and a half that should worry the rest of the league.
A lot of people were skeptical of this team after their passive approach to the 2020 offseason. They allowed two of their top three defencemen (Torey Krug and Zdeno Chára) to walk away as unrestricted free agents and declined to replace them, rolling the dice with internal options instead. Rather than make a move for a flashy offensive scorer, they picked up Craig Smith, a player beloved by the analytical community but overlooked by most hockey fans.
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