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Bruins beat Hurricanes, reach Stanley Cup Final for third time this decade

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USA TODAY Sports

Bruins beat Hurricanes, reach Stanley Cup Final for third time this decade

The Boston Bruins will soon play for the greatest trophy in sports -- the Stanley Cup.

The B's advanced to the 2019 Stanley Cup Final with a 4-0 win over the Carolina Hurricanes in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference final at PNC Arena on Thursday night. The Bruins also have won seven consecutive playoff games and nine straight conference final games.

Boston has now reached the Stanley Cup Final three times (2011, 2013, 2019) in this decade, a feat only matched by the Chicago Blackhawks (2010, 2013, 2015). 

The Bruins don't yet know their Cup Final opponent. The San Jose Sharks currently lead the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in the Western Conference Final.

The Blues and Bruins squared off in the 1970 Stanley Cup Final, which, of course, ended with Bobby Orr's famous flying goal in overtime of Game 4. The Sharks, led by former B's star Joe Thornton, have made only one Cup Final appearance -- a loss in 2016 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Bruins last won the Stanley Cup in 2011 when they defeated the Vancouver Canucks in a thrilling seven-game series. Boston lost the 2013 Stanley Cup Final to the Blackhawks in six games. The B's have won six Stanley Cup titles overall, which is tied with the Blackhawks for the fourth-most in NHL history.

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Bruins roster reset: Big decisions loom entering 2019-20 season

Bruins roster reset: Big decisions loom entering 2019-20 season

Even though the Boston Bruins made a run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019, general manager Don Sweeney doesn't plan on simply running back the same roster for the 2019-20 campaign. 

"We have some RFA stuff that we have to take care, and then I go from there," Sweeney said Monday. "I think we have areas that we would like to continue to address, whether that’s internally or externally, not just through free agency but through trades. We’re going to be active in trying to address those." 

Whether those trades include trading an aging David Backes, selling high on star defenseman Torey Krug or aggressively pursuing a hard-nosed right wing to bolster either the first or second line, the Bruins have options.

However, retooling the roster could be complicated because many of Boston's under-contract players have either no-movement or some degree of no-trade clauses. (The difference between the two is that a player with a no-movement clause can't be waived or sent down to the minors without a player's consent). Modified no-trade clauses typically entail a limited list of teams a player would accept a trade to.

Among the restricted free agents Sweeney mentioned include key postseason contributors Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo. Boston will also have to make decisions on unrestricted free agents Marcus Johansson and Noel Acciari. 

Below is a full breakdown of the Bruins' roster, via Spotrac

Under Contract: 
Patrice Bergeron (Modified no-trade clause)
David Backes (Modified no-trade clause)
Zdeno Chara
Connor Clifton
Charlie Coyle
Jake DeBrusk
Matt Grzelcyk
Jaroslav Halak
David Krejci (Full no-trade clause)
Torey Krug (modified no-trade clause)
Sean Kuraly
Karson Kuhlman
Brad Marchand (No-movement clause)
Kevan Miller
John Moore
Joakim Nordstrom
David Pastrnak
Tuukka Rask (modified no-trade clause)
Chris Wagner
Kyle Keyser

Restricted Free Agents: 
Brandon Carlo
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson
Ryan Fitzgerald
Danton Heinen
Steve Kampfer
Charlie McAvoy
Gemel Smith
Zane McIntyre
Peter Cehlarik

Unrestricted Free Agents: 
Noel Acciari
Marcus Johansson
Mark McNeill
Lee Stempniak
Jordan Szwarz

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Cassidy: Bruins "don't have a regret" about pre-Final scrimmage despite Brad Marchand injury

Cassidy: Bruins "don't have a regret" about pre-Final scrimmage despite Brad Marchand injury

BOSTON – Amid the raft of injuries divulged by the Bruins a few days after losing the Stanley Cup Final was a sprained hand for Brad Marchand.

The Bruins left winger admitted that he re-aggravated a hand injury in the Thursday night scrimmage game at TD Garden ahead of the Stanley Cup Final. It was a play that happened in the first half of the scrimmage when Connor Clifton backed into Marchand and clearly caused him some discomfort in his left hand. Marchand returned to the scrimmage and didn’t miss any time due to the hand injury, but it also seemed like his usual Velcro handle on the puck wasn’t what it normally is while he was nursing the injured hand.  

Marchand struggled with just a couple of goals in the seven-game Stanley Cup Final series, and made a key mistake in the first period of Game 7 that ended up putting the decisive game out of reach for the Black and Gold. So it wasn’t a banner series for No. 63 perhaps in part due to the hand injury suffered by Marchand, and that naturally begs the question of whether the Bruins had second thoughts about holding that scrimmage their 10-day waiting period for the Stanley Cup Final to start.

Not so says head coach Bruce Cassidy.

“I thought [the scrimmage] would be a good one in some way shape or form. How it played out after that, to try to replicate getting back into game mode, getting to the rink, morning skate, video, whatever, rest in the afternoon and come to the rink. That’s a risk. I said it at the time that there’s always a risk involved. There’s a risk in practicing at 11:00 on, that was a Thursday, I believe, Thursday morning,” said Bruce Cassidy. “We’re going to have some battle drills. I don’t think you can go 10 days without some level of battle. You’d hope the players are smart enough to keep the battle...avoid contact from behind, all of the things where guys get hurt.

“I don’t have a regret [about the scrimmage], to be honest with you. Our job was to be ready for Game One. I felt we were. We got to our game in the second period. We won the game. We wanted to make sure we didn’t get behind in the series, take us a couple games to catch up. I don’t know. Only Brad can tell you how much it bothered him. At the end of the day, I didn’t think that week had a big factor in the playoffs. Had we started slow or got out of the gate and got up two, three, nothing, you can point to either way. But, it’s 1-1 after two, so probably wasn’t a big factor what we did at all that week. It’s more what happened later in the series.”

It’s certainly true that the latter games of the series were where the Stanley Cup Final was won and lost, but through beginning to end in the series it never felt like Marchand was his normal self against the Blues. It’s true that he could have been just as easily hurt during a morning practice rather than an evening scrimmage, but that’s not how it played out for a Bruins team that came up a little bit short when it mattered most last week. 

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