Bruins

Stanley Cup Final Game 7: Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly wins Conn Smythe Trophy

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USA TODAY Sports

Stanley Cup Final Game 7: Blues’ Ryan O’Reilly wins Conn Smythe Trophy

BOSTON — Ryan O’Reilly’s first season with the St. Louis Blues could not have played out more perfectly. 

The Blues are Stanley Cup champions for the first time in team history after beating the Boston Bruins 4-1 on the road in Game 7.

O’Reilly played a pivotal role in the Blues’ title run, and he was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP following Wednesday night’s victory at TD Garden.

The veteran center, who scored the first goal of Game 7, tallied a team-leading 23 points (eight goals, 15 assists) through 26 playoff games.

He scored a goal in each of the last four games of the series, with seven points (five goals, two assists) total over that span. O’Reilly had at least one point in six of the seven games against the Bruins.

O’Reilly also became the first player to score a goal in four straight Cup Final games since Wayne Gretzky in 1985. 

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Brian Burke reveals what Ducks would've given Bruins for Joe Thornton in 2005

Brian Burke reveals what Ducks would've given Bruins for Joe Thornton in 2005

It appears the Boston Bruins could've received a lot more for Joe Thornton when they dealt him to the San Jose Sharks in 2005, at least according to Brian Burke. 

During a Twitter Q&A session on Thursday Burke, general manager of the Anaheim Ducks at the time Thornton was traded, revealed he was rather frustrated he couldn't pry the future Hall of Famer from Mike O'Connell's clutches. 

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As for what he would've given up for Thornton -- this one may frustrate B's fans. 

O'Connell ended up dealing Thornton to the Sharks for Marco Sturm, Wayne Primeau and Brad Stuart. The move cleared cap space for the Bruins to later sign Zdeno Chara and Marc Savard, among others, but could what they have received from Anaheim been better?

If the Bruins ended up receiving Anaheim's 2006 first-round draft pick (19th overall), they could've drafted anyone from Claude Giroux who went 22nd overall to the Philadelphia Flyers to Nick Foligno who was drafted 28th overall by the Ottawa Senators. Now, if the first-round pick Burke was willing to give up was indeed a 2006 pick, then the Bruins who drafted Phil Kessel fifth overall that year could've potentially added two stars for the price of one. 

Thinking about that situation alone should make Bruins' fans cringe, but there's more.

Burke noted he would've given up the player who O'Connell ranked as sixth-best on the Ducks roster as well as a prospect. Looking back at that now, the sixth player could've been anyone from Francois Beauchemin to Joffrey Lupul and a prospect could've been the likes of Ryan Getzlaf or Corey Perry, according to WEEI's Matt Kalman. 

The sixth-best player makes you shake your head because Beauchemin and/or Lupul weren't the greatest, but the first-round pick and possibility of adding Getzlaf or Perry would've been huge for the Bruins. 

If this deal was done in 2020, you'd have to wonder if Don Sweeney would've accepted Burke's offer.

 

Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara lead NHL in plus-minus this decade

Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara lead NHL in plus-minus this decade

The Boston Bruins were the NHL's best team before the league hit pause on the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus, and it's not hard to see why. 

The B's are one of the best defensive teams in the entire NHL. They have allowed the least goals with 167 and rank eighth in shots against per games played with 30.  

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Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara are a big reason why Boston has found plenty of defensive success over the last decade. The trio ranks one, two and three in plus-minus from the 2010-11 season to the 2019-20 campaign. 

Although those three have the best plus-minus in the league, a majority of the B's 2019-20 roster is solid defensively. 

If the NHL season does resume at some point, you can bet on the Bruins being just as good as they were before the league hit pause.