Craig Custance chats with rival scouts and players to break down the strengths and weaknesses of the Boston Bruins.
It wasn't that long ago the Bruins and Penguins were considered equals as Eastern Conference contenders. That changed at the trade deadline.
"I thought Boston, early in the year, was the best team," said an Eastern Conference scout.
"Just the fact that Pittsburgh got a lot better and Boston just got a little bit better," he said.
The Bruins didn't do anything down the stretch to convert skeptics, either, with April losses to non-playoff teams like Philadelphia, Buffalo and Carolina.
But this team might be the classic case of overreacting to a team's performance leading up to the playoffs rather than looking at the complete picture. This is a deep, structured team with goaltending and playoff experience. And plenty to play for this spring.
KEY STRENGTH: The Bruins are a tough team to match up against because they roll four lines and there's not a huge drop off in talent from one line to the next.
"They have good depth. They play four lines more equally than anyone else I know," said an Eastern Conference defenseman. "They're good at forechecking. They have bigger forwards that can wear on you and then they have some skill guys down the middle that can really make plays at high speeds."
This is an experienced team that knows how to win in the postseason and needs to shake off a suspect April to return to contender status.