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New Division, New Challenges Await Boston This Season

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The preseason is over, we’ve had our looks at some new players and prospects, now it’s time to get serious.

There has been a lot of buzz around the Bruins as the season is kicking off. Between the new faces, fan favorites becoming parts of other teams, and the newly formed Atlantic Division under the re-alignment; there’s definitely been plenty to talk about.

Coming off a season where Boston launched themselves from a shaky first round against Toronto to Stanley Cup contenders, it leaves fans with high hopes looking at the upcoming season. With the departure of some key players, the Bruins certainly stepped up and filled the gaps with some stars that will definitely play a big role in this season. As it stands right now, the Bruins lines will look something like this:

  1. Lucic-Krejci-Iginla
  2. Marchand-Bergeron-Eriksson
  3. Smith-Kelly-Söderberg*
  4. Paille-Campbell-Thornton

*Carl Söderberg will be out of Thursday’s opener with an injury, Jordan Caron will play in his spot.

Along with some great offensive talent, the B’s have also maintained their key defensive players. Aside from the veterans, it will be interesting to see how Torey Krug and Matt Bartkowski handle their roles throughout a full season. Both players stepped up big in the post season, and should show the same level of intensity during the regular season.

Boston’s goaltending situation also seems to be in good hands. Tuukka Rask has taken the starting role for the Bruins and ran with it, having a stellar season in net last year. Rask should have another big year, and perhaps make a case for the Vezina trophy. Backing him up to start the season will be newcomer Chad Johnson, who had both good and bad moments this preseason. He should be able to hold down some nights in net to give Tuukka a rest. The B’s also have a good goalie in Niklas Svedberg (currently with Providence) who I believe they could confidently call up should they need the help.

Looking at the Atlantic Division, Boston should definitely have a great chance to take their spot on top. Their main competition will likely be the Detroit Red Wings, and should watch out for Ottawa and Montreal. All three teams have added some key offensive players to go along with their already playoff-caliber organizations.

The Boston Bruins will begin their 2013-14 season Thursday night when they host the Tampa Bay Lightning, and will host the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter for NHL and College Hockey updates: @GregCelona

CelonaG

Media Relations assistant for UMass Lowell Athletics, Occasional live tweeting for Umass Lowell games when in season @RiverHawkNation Personal Twitter: @GreggyC92 Journalism Student at UMass Lowell