I still believe the Boston Bruins were better than the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2013 Stanley Cup. I also believe the Bruins defeated themselves before the Stanley Cup even began. The Bruins were outstanding in the 2013 postseason and went on to sweep the Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals. The problem with the team was exposed in Game 3 where the Bruins needed two overtime periods to defeat the Penguins. The Bruins had numerous opportunities to win the game but failed over and over again.
The problem came with Tyler Seguin and Jaromir Jagr failing to score repeatedly. Even if they helped the Bruins score one more goal each, it would’ve taken the Bruins to the next level. Jagr was a great pickup, but he just didn’t help us score those extra goals that would’ve put the offense right over. Of course acquiring Jagr all dated back to when Jarome Iginla picked the Penguins over the Bruins, after it originally being reported he was coming to Boston. The scenario would end up costing both the Bruins and Iginla a Stanley Cup in 2013.
The Bruins would go into Game 1 of the Stanley Cup where they forced the Blackhawks to play 3 overtime periods before finally being defeated. The Bruins defense was incredible, but the offense just didn’t score when it needed to. The problem in Game 1 can be traced back to Seguin and Jagr who later weren’t retained for the 2013-14 season. The game ultimately resulted in players like Chara and Bergeron over-exerting themselves, in addition to another overtime scenario in Game 2 which despite winning wasn’t in the Bruins best interests to have to endure. The Bruins came back to Boston with the series tied at 1.
In Game 3, the Bruins played Bruins hockey winning 2-zip but they were about show signs of burn out in game 4. The Bruins allowed 6 goals and lost in overtime. The Blackhawks then handled the Bruins 3-1 in Game 5 and the tide had turned in the series. Bergeron played Game 6 with a punctured lung and was ultimately sent to the hospital following the game. The Bruins had broke down and lost after having Game 7 within grasp with just minutes remaining in Game 6. The cold hard facts were the Bruins were done and almost certain to lose Game 7 anyways.
The 2014 Bruins are a different team. Jarome Iginla is on board and since the Olympics have ended, he has been tearing the league apart having just been named the NHL’s First Star for March. Bergeron has also been on a recent scoring streak. The Bruins defense has been incredible at all levels. The Bruins have been winning game after game and just recently defeated the Blackhawks in a Stanley Cup rematch. The difference is that the Bruins offense is far superior to last years, simply by adding Iginla. He was what the Bruins were lacking. The 2014 Bruins also lead the league in points and are on pace to win the Presidents’ Trophy. It should be noted that the Bruins didn’t have home ice in neither the 2011 nor 2013 Stanley Cup.
I strongly believe that the 2013 Bruins would’ve benefitted from having home ice versus the Blackhawks and may have avoided a 3-overtime Game 1 altogether. I am certain the Bruins organization took this into account and strove to piece together a Presidents’ Trophy winning team in 2014. It sure seems like it. The Bruins and their defense will be very hard to defeat if they earn home ice advantage in any Stanley Cup playoff round. When you take into account the Bruins enhanced offense, they’ll likely avoid several overtime periods and put away both games and playoffs rounds with less difficulty than 2013.