The Boston Bruins fell one win short of hoisting hockey’s ultimate prize last season, losing in seven games to the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final. As such, expectations are high for this season, especially with Boston returning most of its roster.
This was reflected in ESPN’s preseason NHL power rankings, which pegged Boston at No. 2 behind the Tampa Bay Lightning. And the Bruins’ 3-0 start to the new campaign has propelled them to the top spot after one week.
The power rankings, which are tabulated based on polls submitted by ESPN’s hockey editorial staff, take into account overall record, recent success and other factors such as injuries. The Bruins seem to check all of the boxes when it comes to determining the league’s best.
Here’s what ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski pointed to Thursday when identifying a small-sample revelation for each team:
The Bruins are once again stingy. With the holy trinity of Patrice Bergeron at center, Zdeno Chara on defense and either Tuukka Rask or Jaroslav Halak in goal, the Bruins are going to be good defensively. They were third in goal suppression in the NHL last season, at 2.59 allowed per game. They’ve gotten off the blocks this season giving up 1.33 per game, including a win over an offensive juggernaut in Vegas.
The Bruins opened the 2019-20 season with road wins over the Dallas Stars, Arizona Coyotes and Vegas Golden Knights. The reigning Eastern Conference champions will wrap up their season-opening trip Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche before returning to TD Garden on Saturday for a three-game homestand that includes games against the New Jersey Devils, Anaheim Ducks and Lightning.
The Bruins are joined in the top five of ESPN’s power rankings by the Golden Knights, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs and Washington Capitals.
Thumbnail photo via Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA TODAY Sports Images