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Rivalry Week: The Bruins’ rivalries with all 32 NHL teams, ranked

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Every other team sucks, but not equally.

Toronto Maple Leafs v Boston Bruins - Game Five

We’ve already covered a few different things this Rivalry Week, including the Bruins’ budding rivalry with Tampa Bay and the history-filled Bruins vs. Rangers rivalry.

However, rivalries come in all shapes and sizes. With every team in the NHL after the same thing, aren’t all teams technically rivals of one another?

Good enough for me!

With that in mind, let’s count down from 32 and learn about all of the enemies we’ve made along the way.

32. Anaheim Ducks

I feel absolutely nothing toward the Ducks. Nothing. There’s no real bad blood, no real interesting games that come to mind...nothing.

Complete apathy.

31. Seattle Hockey Team

This team doesn’t exist yet, and it’s still more of a rival for the Bruins than the Ducks.

30. Los Angeles Kings

Like their California brethren, the Kings don’t really have much going on when it comes to the Bruins. They’ve played a couple of decent games over the years, but that’s about it.

29. Arizona Coyotes

There have been a couple of games between these two teams where some sparks flew. I can remember Raffi Torres throwing a cheapshot at someone, and Colin Miller laying out Alexander Burmistrov with a borderline hit, but nothing ever really carried over.

Those brief sparks are surrounded by snoozefests.

28. Minnesota Wild

A team so bland that you couldn’t be blamed for forgetting its existence.

It didn’t help that for several years, the Bruins and WIld played similarly defensive styles, so their games were like watching a race between paint drying and spackle drying.

27. Calgary Flames

The biggest beef in this rivalry is the fact that the Flames didn’t end up trading Jarome Iginla to the Bruins in 2013. That’s about it.

26. Winnipeg Jets

The Bruins and Atlanta Thrashers had some decent bouts back in the day, but the fun never really carried over to Winnipeg.

25. Colorado Avalanche

The only source of tension between the Bruins and Avalanche is the fact that one of the best players in Bruins history had to go play for Colorado to win a Cup.

Had the Bruins not won in 2011, the Avs angst might be higher. But at this point, who cares?

24. Las Vegas Golden Knights

I can’t really think of any interesting things that have happened between the Bruins and the Knights, but they’ve played some entertaining games in recent years.

That alone is worth being ahead of the teams above.

23. Nashville Predators

There have been times where these two teams have been at the tops of their respective conferences, making for some interesting match-ups in terms of talent and “measuring stick” games.

However, nothing has ever really popped off between the teams.

22. New Jersey Devils

I am completely indifferent to the New Jersey Devils, which is impressive, given that over the years, the Bruins have seen quite a bit of them due to playing in the same conference.

Unlike the Ducks, the Devils and Bruins have faced each other plenty, just...not with any sort of malice, interest, or entertainment.

21. Edmonton Oilers

This one will likely depend on your age. I don’t remember either match-up due to being 6 months and 2.5 years old, respectively, but there’s still some historical angst due to the Bruins losing in the Cup Final to the Oilers more than once.

The 1988 and 1990 Cup Finals definitely still sting for your parents, aunts, uncles, or grandparents, so we’ll give them this one.

20. Florida Panthers

They exist and are in the same division, which is cool.

19. New York Islanders

There’s some history to this one too, but not as much as the Edmonton history. Plus, in recent years, the B’s and Islanders have managed to avoid each other in playoff series and in particularly tenacious match-ups.

There’s a level of “shuld of taked Barzal” rivalry, but that’s more about the Bruins hating themselves.

18. Vancouver Canucks

Unfortunately, things have fizzled in recent years.

In the years following the 2011 Final, Bruins-Canucks games were must-see TV. However, as the main players moved on, things kind of burnt out.

17. St. Louis Blues

Plenty of you will think the Blues should be higher on this list, but that’s only due to June of 2019. Prior to that Final, you felt nothing about the Blues.

Barring another match-up in the Final, any budding rivalry seems destined to fade away.

16. Dallas Stars

This one benefits from the historical nod too. The Bruins and Stars played two of the wildest games in years in very close proximity, a great way to build a rivalry.

While none of the games since has approached those levels of chaos, there does still seem to be a bit of an undercurrent of dislike when the Bruins and Stars get together.

15. San Jose Sharks

I think this one might be one-sided for Bruins fans. In the years after the Joe Thornton trade, as B’s fans watched him excel in San Jose while the B’s were a little slower to get going, this turned into a rivalry...

...and by that, it was more Bruins fans mad at the Sharks for having Thornton.

There was that time that Thornton boarded Hal Gill in his first game back in Boston and got ejected, but nothing really came of that. In recent years, feelings have mellowed.

14. Chicago Blackhawks

These games always get a little extra juice due to the Original 6 factor, and 2013 added an extra dash of spice.

However, these match-ups are usually just nostalgia fests; recent iterations of each side seem relatively indifferent about one another.

13. Detroit Red Wings

Hey, speaking of Original 6 nostalgia fests!

The B’s and Red Wings seemed like they might have a few decent years of bad blood following their first-round playoff series in 2014, but they never linked up again.

The B’s sputtered for a year or two, then the bottom fell out in Detroit. By virtue of being in the same division, things will pick up again when the Wings get better (in a decade).

12. Ottawa Senators

That first-round series from a few years back was a pretty good one, with lots of questionable hits, flops, bad calls, and general hard feelings.

Couple that with some regular season bad blood over the years due to guys like Chris Neil and Mark Borowiecki, and the B’s and Senators actually have a decent bit of hate built up.

11. Buffalo Sabres

It’s not really a stretch to say that the Bruins derailed the Sabres franchise.

The Bruins beat the Sabres in a tight series in 2010, partly because Thomas Vanek got injured on a questionable collision with Johnny Boychuk.

The B’s won the Cup the next year, and then Milan Lucic ran over Ryan Miller that fall. After that, the Sabres spent a few seasons chasing face-punchers to counter the Bruins, falling deeper and deeper into disarray.

They still haven’t recovered, but the dislike is pretty one-sided these days.

10. Carolina Hurricanes

Last spring’s Eastern Conference Final was one-sided in terms of wins and losses, but it was also a testy, feisty affair.

Brad Marchand and Justin Williams went at it. Dougie Hamilton briefly became a villain. There was hard hitting, face washing...you know, a good ol’ fashioned playoff series.

With the Canes good and relatively young, there’s a decent chance these teams run into one another again in the coming years. There’s a nice base for this rivalry to grow.

9. Columbus Blue Jackets

See above. Plus, this one gets the added boost of a testy game or two since that contentious playoff series ended.

Plus, the style of hockey Columbus plays just breeds rivalries.

8. New York Rangers

This is a rivalry that is going to be forced upon us by NBC and whoever takes the NHL’s national broadcast rights after that.

New York vs. Boston thing aside, any time a game has Brad Marchand on one side and Tony DeAngelo on the other, things are going to explode eventually.

7. Pittsburgh Penguins

This is one that’s fizzling a bit, and probably could have been pushed a little further back.

Still, this is a rivalry that is built on two teams being very good at the same time, with a dash of Matt Cooke being trash. Then there’s James Neal kneeing Marchand in the head, Shawn Thornton sucker-punching Brooks Orpik, the whole 2013 showdown...lot of bad blood there.

In recent years, things have quieted a bit, but the two teams always seem to play great games when they link up.

6. Philadelphia Flyers

This is one worth keeping an eye on. The Flyers are young and getting better, and there’s still some hurt feelings in the fan bases over 2010/2011.

Plus, there’s a nice chunk of hatred for one another in each franchise’s past, and Philly sports fans and Boston sports fans have to be two of the most obnoxious groups of people on the planet.

Toss it all together and you’ve got a recipe for some rough stuff.

5. Boston Bruins

Let’s be honest: many Bruins fans spend more time complaining about their own team than any of the other 31 franchises.

And to be fair, the Bruins have been their own worst enemy at times: terrible trades, brutal free agent signings, history-altering mental lapses...you name it.

Nothing like a little self loathing!

4. Washington Capitals

I’d actually be interested to hear from Caps fans as to whether or not this rivalry is a thing for them.

Bruins fans absolutely have beef with the Capitals, mainly due to years of futility. But from a Caps fan perspective, I’m not sure if the feelings are mutual.

The Bruins have fared a little better lately, but there’s always potential for something to pop off when these two teams meet.

They should do battle for Eastern supremacy for another year or two, so we’ve got time for things to get more heated.

3. Montreal Canadiens

I get it, you all love the history. But really: what has made this a rivalry over the past two seasons? Claude Julien going back?

The on-ice theatrics simply haven’t been there since guys like Milan Lucic and PK Subban left their respective towns. Sure, it’s still cool to see the jerseys on the ice together, and both fan bases still enjoy needling each other.

But on the ice, things have cooled off...for now.

2. Tampa Bay Lightning

Chris already explained why this is one of the Bruins’ biggest rivalries right now, and I can’t disagree with him.

Both teams are good, both teams have guys who can mix it up, and both teams dislike each other. They’re destined to butt heads again soon, which will only add fuel to the fire.

1. Toronto Maple Leafs

You can say all you want that this isn’t a rivalry from the Bruins’ perspective, that it’s all one-sided, etc. But you’re wrong.

These two teams have played some of the most intense, hate-filled games in the entire sport over the past two seasons. Things cooled down slightly after 2013, but since the Leafs started to get good again, every game between the two has been great.

The playoff series have been excellent as well, even if the endings haven’t been kind to Toronto. That’s likely to change eventually, which will add a layer of hatred from the Bruins’ side.

Still, these teams don’t really have “off” nights when they play each other. We’ll still see things pop off if these two somehow meet up again at the neutral sites.