Bruins over Lightning? Anonymous NHL player makes surprise Stanley Cup prediction

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The Boston Bruins, in most other seasons, would be a popular pick to win the Stanley Cup.

The Bruins finished the regular season with 107 points, tied with the Calgary Flames for the second-best record in the NHL. Still, the Bruins are not the favorite to win the Cup, and they aren't even the consensus pick to win the Eastern Conference. 

The Tampa Bay Lightning dominated the league this season, amassing an astounding 128 points and a plus-103 goal differential. The Bolts are without question the favorite to lift the Stanley Cup, but in hockey, the best team rarely wins. In fact, just two of the last 15 winners of the Presidents' Trophy have hoisted the Stanley Cup in the same season. The last team to do it was the 2013 Chicago Blackhawks, who defeated the Bruins in the Cup Final.

With the Bruins and Lightning expected to meet again in the second round, one anonymous NHL player is picking Boston to not only pull off the upset, but go all the way and win the Stanley Cup. Here's what that player told The Athletic:

“Tampa is the obvious pick but (the Cup winner) is usually not the obvious pick,” said the player, who is from the Eastern Conference. “I think it’s going to be one of Tampa, Washington or Boston.”

Forced to pick one, the player chose the Bruins: “Matchup-wise, they’re the best bet to knock Tampa off. They play well defensively and they’re structured but they’re explosive offensively. The top line is as good as any in the playoffs. Depth has gotten better. They’re not elite on the back end but play a team system and the goaltending is good enough. They can defend the Lightning and still score on them.”

The Lightning beat the Bruins in five games in the second round last year, and you could argue Tampa Bay is even better this season. The same can be said for the Bruins, though, especially at the most important position. The offseason addition of veteran goaltender Jaroslav Halak, along with starting netminder Tuukka Rask, has given Boston one of the league's best duos in net. Rask and Halak led the Bruins to the third-best goals against aaverage in the regular season.

The Bruins also have arguably the best line in hockey with Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak leading the offense. Boston's scoring depth, which was an issue versus Tampa Bay in 2018, has been bolstered by David Krejci's career season and trade deadline acquisitions such as Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle.

The Lightning are going to be tough to beat in a seven-game series, but the Bruins are best-equipped to do it.

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