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The Boston Bruins Lose in the Eastern Conference Second Round to the Tampa Bay Lightning

The Bruins were removed from the playoffs in the Eastern Conference second round by the Lightning after losing 3-2 in Game 5 on Monday at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

Bruins Current Standpoint

Even though the Bruins ended up having the best points percentage in the NHL (.714) in the regular season before being paused March 12 due to COVID-19, the team got knocked down to the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference after having a losing streak in the round-robin qualifiers. 

Currently, Joakim Nordstrom, C; Zdeno Chara, D; Torey Krug, D; Kevan Miller, D are Bruins’ players that are potential unrestricted free agents.  While Jake DeBrusk, F; Karson Kuhlman, C; Matt Grzelcyk, D, Jakub Zboril, D are potential restricted free agents.

Where the Mistakes were Made

The Bruins had one of the top three goalies in the NHL during the regular season with Tuukka Rask, a finalist for the Vezina Trophy. Unfortunately for the Bruins, Rask opted out of the playoffs due to a family emergency on Aug. 15. Jaroslav Halak, who was alongside Rask for winning the William M. Jennings Trophy for letting in the least amount of goals in the regular season, took over. Though Halak was good, specifically in Game 5 against the Lightning, after making 32 saves, he wasn’t Rask. The Bruins scored an average of 3.24 goals per game in the regular season. In the playoffs, their average fell to 2.23. This wasn’t sufficient, particularly when playing a team with the energy of the lightning. It was especially a challenge for Boston to score during 5-on-5 in particular, with only 17 goals in 13 postseason games.

Hope for Next Season

This playoff season has made it abundantly clear that Charlie McAvoy is the Bruins new star player. The 22-year-old has played spectacular during the past two playoff seasons, and made it obvious this postseason he is the best defenseman for the Bruins, with one goal and three assists in 13 games.  

It’s not just David Pastrnak’s bright character that lights up Boston’s future. Pastrnak tied with Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead with 48 goals, and has scored 180 goals in 390 NHL games. 

Boston seems to finally have the answer for a good center with Charlie Coyle, who signed to a six-year contract extension with Boston on Nov. 27. Coyle has been outstanding during this postseason with the Bruins, with three goals and two assists in 13 games. If  Bergeron and Krejci continue to play well, the Bruins will be in an excellent position next season. 

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