The Boston Bruins were knocked out of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the first round by the eventual Eastern Conference Champions, the Ottawa Senators. Well almost the Eastern Conference Champions since the Senators were just one double overtime goal from a spot in the Final. How about this, the Eastern Conference Champions Who Were One Goal Away From Becoming the Actual Eastern Conference Champions. Either way, the Bruins knew they would be back next year with more speed and skill.
A large reason as to why the Bruins were just one point shy of the Atlantic Division title was their constant production from their stars. In order to be a successful team, you need your star players to play like star players. David Pastrnak led the team in goals with 35 in the regular season and tallied 20 points in just 12 playoff games. Brad Marchand, as pestering as he is, led the Bruins in points with 85 in just 68 games. That's an incredible 1.25 points per game. Marchand shared the wealth racking up 51 assists which led the Bruins as well. An overlooked stat, Marchand also had a shooting percentage of 18.7% over 68 games. Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, David Backes and the captain Zdeno Chara all contributed regularly as well to make this Bruins team one of the deepest in the league.
The maybe not so young gun in Torey Krug and the very young gun in Charlie McAvoy displayed a bright future in the Boston defense. An area where they have lacked depth in the past. Krug nearly reached the 60-point plateau with 59 points in 76 games. McAvoy in his very first season scored an incredible 32 points in 63 games with 25 assists. McAvoy was also a superb plus 20 showing that he would not be a defensive liability. McAvoy proved his skill in the playoffs as well scoring five points in 12 games with a plus two rating. The Bruins defense looks like it will be led by Charlie McAvoy in the future and this is a very exciting thing for Boston. As long time Bruin Zdeno Chara's career comes to a close, he will be leaving the defense corps in good hands with McAvoy and Krug leading the way.
In the end, the Bruins were just beat by a superior Lightning team that most definitely choked. The Bruins shouldn't feel nearly as bad as the Lightning should as it was really their cup to lose. There were a lot of good teams but the Bolts were the overall best. The Bruins will have another season to reach that final summit and if they play their cards just right, there's no doubt the Bruins could be looking at a division, conference and championship banner hanging from the rafters very soon.
Here's Boston's infographic for the 2017-18 season.