The Bruins open up their quest for the franchise’s seventh Stanley Cup on Saturday night when they take on Washington in Game 1 of the first round. Boston has come close several times to winning that seventh Cup, most notably in Final losses to the Blackhawks in 2013 and the Blues two years ago. This Bruins squad represents the franchise’s best chance for another championship since they won it all in 2011. The biggest reason for that is the upgrades Don Sweeney made at the trade deadline, led by Taylor Hall.
Since joining Boston, Hall has played like the number one overall pick that he is. Hall has 14 points in 16 games including 8 goals. The exclamation point on his regular season was a sick between the legs maneuver to score the overtime game winner against the Islanders on Monday. Hall has slotted next to David Krejci and given Krejci his best winger since Jarome Iginla in 2014. Hall has also elevated the games of Krejci, who looks re-energized, and linemate Craig Smith, who has been solid defensively and shown some occasional offensive pop.
For Boston, the two keys to winning are having their defense hold up against high end talent and having a line that can score besides their top one. With Hall in place, the Bruins now have multiple lines that can score at will. In previous seasons, if an opponent shut down the Bruins top line, the team was toast. It was their downfall in 2018, 2019 and 2020. That is no longer a concern.
Hall is a former MVP who has shown some inconsistencies in his career, but everything has seemed to fall in place for him in Boston. If Hall, along with other deadline additions Mike Reilly and Curtis Lazar, can continue to play well the Bruins will be the favorite to win the Cup.