The Boston Bruins are the defending Eastern Conference champions.
There is something about the Boston Bruins that brings out the best in the Montreal Canadiens. Yet that doesn't mean that the defending Eastern Conference champions won't cause the Habs any problems in 2013-14.
Montreal had a very successful 2013 versus the Bruins, taking three-out-of-four games and taking seven points in the process. Their head-to-head dominance last year was a deciding factor in the Canadiens finishing just a single point ahead of the Bruins in the final standings.
But last year's success means nothing going forward. The Bruins are a big, talented team with a roster that can compete with any in the NHL.
Boston will again be led by the usual suspects Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask. Twenty-year-old Dougie Hamilton will be looking to take the next step in becoming one of the best young defensemen in the league.
General manager Peter Chiarelli did make some notable moves this offseason that has the Bruins lineup looking a little different from that of last season.
Chiarelli finally grew tired of Tyler Seguin's partying antics (according to Stephen Harris of The Boston Herald) and shipped him and Rich Peverley off to Dallas for Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.
Eriksson, 28, will immediately jump into a top-six forward role. He has scored 150 career goals in 501 games and has a great all-around game. Morrow is a 20-year-old defenseman who immediately becomes the Bruins' top defensive prospect.
The Bruins also signed Jarome Iginla after watching Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr depart via free agency.
Iginla lands in Boston after spurning the Bruins at the trade deadline last season. The veteran had 14 goals and 33 points in 44 games with Calgary and Pittsburgh last season.
An argument can be made both ways as to whether Boston is a better team on paper this year compared to last. Either way, Boston is still a great hockey team and will definitely cause Montreal some problems next season.