With the start of the season finally here, the Eastern Conference is going to be packed with talent. Lots of teams could be fighting for playoff spots when the time comes, so why don't we take a look at some preseason predictions for the Eastern Conference.
One team that is sure to come out of the gates strong is the New York Rangers. The Rangers, like the Bruins, are a well rounded team, with a good balance of offense and defense, as well as a well mixed team as far as experience goes. The Rangers are also supported by one of the best goalies in the league, Henrik Lundqvist, who is used to performing very well between the pipes. Plus new additions such as Rick Nash will provide even more talent for the Rangers. You can expect to see the Rangers among the top few teams in the East.
Keys: keep consistent, step it up in the playoffs
Another team who could be among the beasts of the East are the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Penguins can be a great team when they're on their game, but they need to have their guys on the ice. It'll be important to the Penguins that key players such as Sidney Crosby stay healthy throughout the season. Also, the Penguins need to see a great improvement in goaltending from the end of last season. This includes goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who's performance in net at the end of last season was, well, downright scary.
Keys: stay healthy, improve goaltending
Next, we'll keep in Pennsylvania, and head across to the city of brotherly love,
Philadelphia, home of the Flyers. The Flyers are an interesting team, full of characters such as Claude Giroux, who was fantastic last season. It's tough to say exactly what we'll see from the Flyers this season, but they could make a run at least into the playoffs.
Finally, we'll take a look at a team who is likely to lead among the East this year, the Carolina Hurricanes. The Canes' offense could be quite dangerous, with the combination of the deadly Staal brothers. Eric and Jordan are being backed up by a very good puck stopper, Cam Ward. Cam is a reliable goaltender who is rarely injured, and puts up good numbers between the pipes, such as his .915 save percentage last season. The Canes of the East coast very well may be among the top of the ladder in the Eastern Conference this season.
It is needless to say that the B's should be among these teams at the top of the East, with an all around strong team. But all of these teams are potential leaders for the East this season, and they could all put up a good fight against the Bruins for the top slots in the Conference, which would lead to a very exciting 2013 season. Exactly who falls into which place is tough to predict, but you should expect the Big Bad Bruins to be amongst the top of not only the Eastern Conference, but the NHL as a whole.
Sources: espn.go.com, StarTribune.com, NHL.com, blueshirtbanter.com