by PuckStopsHere on 04/07/09 at 01:48 AM ET
One of the surprises this season has been the success of the Boston Bruins. Last season they finished eighth in the East Conference taking the last playoff spot. Most predictions had them finishing in the same territory this season.
Very early in the season in became clear that they would exceed expectation. Tim Thomas is having a Vezina quality season in goal. That was unexpected. While Zdeno Chara was expected to have a good season on defence, the development of Dennis Wideman was not expected. At forward, Marc Savard has continued to become a well-rounded player (his defence is much improved) and young players like David Krejci, Phil Kessel,, Blake Wheeler and Milan Lucic all took big steps forward. Boston has a talented (mostly) young core that took a huge step forward this season. It places them first overall in the East Conference and the favorite to win the East Conference in the playoffs.
Boston is also playing very well as the season closes out. They have won their last six games in a row and have points in nine of their last ten games. This is a team that is going to be very hard to stop in the playoffs.
The Bruins have not made it beyond the second round of the playoffs since 1992. It is a good bet that streak will end this season.
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