When it comes time to lift the Stanley Cup in early summer, the Boston Bruins will win the championship for the second time in three years.
The Bruins don't have the greatest individual talent in the NHL. You will not see any of their players among the league's leading scorers. Through their first nine games, David Krejci is leading the team with nine points. That's tied for 42nd in the NHL.
What the Bruins have is toughness, depth, balance and a desire to show that last year's first-round defeat to the Washington Capitals was an aberration.
The Bruins are rock solid on defense with Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg and rookie Dougie Hamilton leading the way. Seidenberg may be the most underrated player in the league.
Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton give the Bruins versatility on the offensive end.
Tuukka Rask is proving that he is capable of brilliance in the net.
The Feb. 7 trade of suspended goalie Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders gives savvy general manager Peter Chiarelli the room under the salary cap to make a player acquisition that would put this team over the top.
Head coach Claude Julien is a master at melding the talents of his players.
There will be significant challenges from the Tampa Bay Lightning, the New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins in the East and possibly Chicago in the Stanley Cup Finals, but the Bruins will raise the Stanley Cup after the season's final game.