After battling for six months, the NHL has seen its best 16 teams advance to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Last year, the Boston Bruins came in as the third seed and faced the Montreal Canadiens. As we all know, the Bruins won in seven games and eventually went all the way.
This time around, Boston is second-seeded and playing a very hot Washington Capitals team.
For a complete look at the Bruins first-round schedule, click here.
Washington had to scratch and claw its way in after dealing with major injuries to stars such as Mike Green and Nicklas Backstrom. The injury woes have continued into the playoffs however. Braden Holtby is the third-string goaltender but may start the postseason with both Tomas Vokoun and Michal Neuvirth on the shelf.
Outside of Nathan Horton, who is most likely out for the season, the Bruins come in ready to go. With the Northeast Division locked up for the past week, head coach Claude Julien has been able to set his team up nicely with rest for Tim Thomas along the way.
The defending Stanley Cup champs get underway Thursday night at TD Garden.
For more on the Bruins and the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs, be sure to check our our blog Stanley Cup Of Chowder. Also take a look at our StoryStream and SB Nation Boston for all the latest news and updates.