As the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs are slated to begin this week, the Boston Bruins will begin their championship defense.
Even though Boston returned most of their championship team for the 2011-12 season, it was reasonable to expect some sort of Stanley Cup hangover.
But these Bruins proved the critics wrong.
As the No. 2 seed in the East, Boston once again earned over 100 points for the season and have set themselves up for a deep playoff run.
Here are some reasons why the Bruins were able to surpass even the most loyal fans' expectations this season.