May 20, 2019

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In the Eastern Conference, It’s the Upstart vs. the Mainstay

In the Eastern Conference, It’s the Upstart vs. the Mainstay
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Boston has been overshadowed frequently by the Lightning, who dominated the East during the regular season. But the Bruins have no shortage of depth, potency and clutch performances.

They have five 2011 champions still on the roster: defenseman Zdeno Chara, left wing Brad Marchand, center Patrice Bergeron, center David Krejci and goalie Tuukka Rask, who was the backup then. Rask has settled in after some regular-season turbulence and he out-dueled the searing hot Sergei Bobrovsky in Round 2. Chara, who at 42 is the oldest player in the postseason, leads a defense that also features the 20-somethings Charlie McAvoy and Torey Krug. McAvoy will be suspended for Game 1 for an illegal check to the head of Columbus forward Josh Anderson.

The Bruins have perhaps the most explosive line in the East, with the two-way standout Bergeron, the leading scorer Marchand and David Pastrnak. They have provided a consistent threat and timely scoring, as has Krejci, who led the postseason in scoring in 2011 and 2013. Wing Charlie Coyle, a trade deadline acquisition, has further solidified Boston offensively. Boston’s 40 postseason goals top the East; they have the best power-play unit in the playoffs.

Game 1: Thursday at Boston, 8 p.m., NBCSN

Game 2: Sunday at Boston, 3 p.m., NBC

Game 3: Tuesday at Carolina, 8 p.m., NBCSN

Game 4: Thursday, May 16, at Carolina, 8 p.m., NBCSN

x-Game 5: Saturday, May 18, at Boston, 7:15 p.m., NBC

x-Game 6: Monday, May 20 at Carolina, 8 p.m., NBCSN

x-Game 7: Wednesday, May 22, at Boston, 8 p.m., NBCSN

(All times Eastern. x-if necessary.)

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