Bruins

Vegas: Bruins' odds to win Cup worse in 2018 than in 2017

Vegas: Bruins' odds to win Cup worse in 2018 than in 2017

The Vegas oddsmakers don’t think the Boston Bruins are one of the heavy favorites to win a Stanley Cup next season, and that’s probably not a huge surprise for anybody around the Black and Gold scene. But the Bruins have actually lost ground from last season, according to Bovada as Boston sits at 33-to-1 odds to win the Cup next season after things were decided between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators on Sunday night.

The Bruins were at 25-to-1 odds to win the Cup at this time a year ago, and stand with the same odds entering the offseason as a couple of fellow playoff teams, the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators. It feels a bit odd for the Bruins to have longer odds next season after qualifying for the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, and doing so while introducing exciting young players like David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo into the lineup while reloading their NHL roster.

But then again the Vegas numbers guys have the Tampa Bay Lightning at 12-to-1 to win the Cup next season, and that means Vegas thinks there will be at least an Eastern team or two hops past the B's next season.    

Not surprisingly, the reigning Cup champ Pittsburgh Penguins are the Vegas favorites to win it all again at 9-to-1 odds to hoist the Cup at the end of the 2017-18 season.

The Penguins defeated the Nashville Predators in six games and became the first NHL team in the salary cap era to win back-to-back titles with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin driving the bus for the Pens in a big, big way. Here are the complete odds for all 31 NHL teams with the Vegas Golden Knights included as a 150-to-1 longest-of-longshots as an NHL expansion team joining the mix out West next season after this month’s expansion draft:

 

Pittsburgh Penguins                              9/1

Chicago Blackhawks                             12/1

Edmonton Oilers                                   12/1 

Tampa Bay Lightning                             12/1

Washington Capitals                              12/1 

Anaheim Ducks                                     14/1 

Nashville Predators                               14/1 

Dallas Stars                                          16/1 

Minnesota Wild                                     16/1

Montreal Canadiens                               16/1 

New York Rangers                                 16/1

Toronto Maple Leafs                             16/1 

Los Angeles Kings                                18/1 

Columbus Blue Jackets                         20/1 

San Jose Sharks                                   22/1 

St. Louis Blues                                      28/1 

Boston Bruins                                       33/1 

Calgary Flames                                     33/1 

Ottawa Senators                                    33/1 

Florida Panthers                                    40/1 

New York Islanders                                40/1 

Philadelphia Flyers                                40/1 

Winnipeg Jets                                       40/1 

Arizona Coyotes                                    66/1 

Buffalo Sabres                                      66/1 

Carolina Hurricanes                                66/1 

Detroit Red Wings                                 66/1 

Colorado Avalanche                              75/1 

New Jersey Devils                                 75/1 

Vancouver Canucks                               75/1

Las Vegas Golden Knights                    150/1

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

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USA TODAY Sports Photo

David Krejci Line looks to shoulder their share of Bruins offensive burden

TORONTO – The Bruins top line totaled up 20 points in the first two games, and the B’s took both of those against the Maple Leafs. Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak had zero points in Game 3 on Monday night at the Air Canada Centre, and the Bruins ended up dropping that game to the Leafs. 

So clearly the Bruins’ playoff fate could be strongly tied to the ebbs and flow of their top forward trio, but the hope with the B’s is that the formula won’t be that simple throughout the postseason. A big part of the reason the Bruins gave up a boatload to the New York Rangers in exchange for Rick Nash was to acquire another forward capable of shouldering a scoring load, and turn Boston’s second line into a much more dangerous group. 

All three members of the B’s second line, David Krejci, Rick Nash and Jake DeBrusk, all have goals during the best-of-seven series, but they also came up empty in Game 3 with Krejci and DeBrusk only managing two shots on net between them. They know that they’re capable of more given the offensive talent on the ice, and given that so much defensive attention is being paid to neutralizing Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak rather than them. 

“We had lots of good looks. I missed a couple. We had lots of good looks that just didn’t go in,” said Krejci. “So we need to work extra harder [in Game 4] to bury those chances and have them end up in the back of the net. We need to stick to the game plan and respect the game plan.”

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Nash had five shots on net and some pretty good chances, but the best scoring chance was a DeBrusk dangle and pass to Krejci wide open at the net. It looked like the puck hit a rut on the ice and Krejci was never able to settle it down for a shot despite the nice-looking pass, so that line is left biding their team for another chance to carry the offense. 

“I think that’s the main reason why we’re the second line. We all have attributes that can help this team. It hasn’t really come to the table yet, but I still thought that we generated chances [in Game 3], and I think our whole team did. It just wasn’t bouncing our way,” said DeBrusk. “It’s frustrating, but at the same time you take the positives from it. It’s not going to be easy. It’s going to get harder from here on in. Hopefully our top line does their thing, but if not then we’ll be ready to hopefully help out in that category.”

The Bruins top line is ready, willing and able to shoulder the lion’s share of the scoring burden for the Black and Gold, and most nights they’re going to be able to live up to that kind of responsibility. But if the Bruins want to beat the good defensive teams and become a much more difficult team to play against in the postseason, they’re going to need to start getting production from a second line that should be built to play the power, puck possession game in the postseason.

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

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Patrice Bergeron named Selke Trophy finalist for seventh straight season

TORONTO – At some point, they’re going to have to start thinking about re-naming the award after Patrice Bergeron himself.

The Bruins center was named a finalist for the Selke Trophy on Wednesday night for the seventh consecutive season, and is going for his NHL-record fifth trophy for being the best defensive forward in the NHL. Bergeron was named a finalist along with Philadelphia Flyers center Sean Couturier and Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar. Bergeron finished his 12th NHL season with 30 goals and 33 assists for 63 points with 26 penalty minutes and a plus-21 rating in 64 games.

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He ranked fifth in the league in faceoff win percentage (57.3, min. 1,000 face-offs), 12th in face-offs won (784), third in even strength faceoff win percentage (58.0, min. 500 face-offs won) and first in shorthanded faceoff win percentage (58.3, min. 50 face-offs won). The 32-year-old forward also ranked second overall in the team puck possession metric SAT (shot attempts differential), with a 57.56%, which should make the fancy stat nerds very happy.

Some might argue there other more worthy candidates given that Bergeron missed 18 games due to injury this season, but he was also the center of a line that didn’t give up an even strength goal until January while putting up his customarily excellent stats. That being said, a guy like Aleksander Barkov also deserved plenty of consideration outside the top-3 finalists that all come in with equally strong chances of taking home the award.

Bergeron has won the Selke in 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2017. If he wins the year's Selke Trophy, he will break the record held by four-time winner and Montreal Canadiens Hall of Famer Bob Gainey. The Selke Award is given annually to the forward who best excels in the defensive aspects of the game. The winner is selected in a poll of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season, and will be announced at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas on June 20.

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