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If NHL games are played, can the Bruins avenge last year's Stanley Cup loss?

The Bruins finished the regular season as the best team in the league. The playoffs would begin in mid-July if proper safety and health protocols are met.
Credit: AP Photo/Michael Dwyer
Boston Bruins' Nick Ritchie celebrates his goal with Charlie McAvoy, Zdeno Chara, Par Lindholm and Chris Wagner during the second period of a game against the Dallas Stars in Boston on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.

BOSTON, Massachusetts — NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman announced Tuesday the 2019-2020 regular season is over, and if they're able to resume play, the league will be moving to a 24-team playoff format starting sometime in July and ending in early fall if health and safety protocols are met.

The proposed four-phase plan also includes one ‘Hub City’ per conference where all teams will stay and play games. The location of the two cities has not been named.

The end of the regular season means the Boston Bruins would enter the playoffs as the Presidents Trophy winners, the award for the team with the most points at the end of the regular season.

RELATED: NHL will go straight to 24-team playoff if season resumes

The 24-team playoff format includes a round-robin style tournament for the top four seeds in each conference. In the East, the Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Philadelphia Flyers will play each other to decide the top seeds, with a point system determining the order.

The Bruins are trying to get back to the Stanley Cup final after last year’s game seven loss to the Saint Louis Blues. The Blues finished the regular season as the best team in the Western Conference.

If the playoffs begin in mid-July, both teams will need to survive until early fall to return to the Stanley Cup Finals.

Credit: AP
St. Louis Blues' Alexander Steen carries the Stanley Cup after the Blues defeated the Boston Bruins in Game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup Final, Wednesday, June 12, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

Now that hockey is planning its return, it’s time to remember where we left off.

Wednesday, March 11 was the last day NHL teams took the ice before the league shut down due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus. 

The Bruins ended their play a day earlier, defeating the Philadelphia Flyers 2-0. The Flyers could very well be the Bruins' next opponent, in the round-robin matchup. 

Defensemen Matt Grzelcyk scored the game-winning goal after a second period slap shot just went by the shoulder of Flyers goalie Carter Hart.

Credit: AP
Boston Bruins' Matt Grzelcyk (48) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday, March 10, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Tuukka Rask stopped all 36-shots for a shutout. After that night, and every night since, Rask hasn’t seen a single puck on net.

David Pastrnak tied Alex Ovechkin for the most goals in the NHL regular season. Both players found the back of the net 48 times this year.

Pastrnak is not alone on the stats sheet, in fact, many Bruins had incredible seasons.

Fellow line-mate Brad Marchand joins Pastrnak on the list for most points in the league. Marchand’s 87 points are the sixth most in the league while his teammate ended the regular season fourth in the NHL with 95 points.

Tuukka Rask finishes the regular season as the league in Goals Against Average (2.12) and finished second in Save Percentage (.929) and Shutouts (5). Backup goalie Jaroslav Halak ended the regular season sixth in the NHL in GAA and has recorded three shutouts this season.

The NHL has just given the players, and fans, significant hope that there will be a 2020 Stanley Cup—the only question is, will the Bruins play part in it?

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