Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Bring on the Canadiens!!!

Bruins Move On, Ready For the Hated Canadiens!

            Four wins down, twelve more to go. The Red Wings gave the Bruins a decent scare after a great performance from goaltender Jimmy Howard who stopped 25 shots en route to a 1-0 win in Game 1. Veteran leader for the Wings, Pavel Datsyuk, magically ripped a wrister past Tuukka Rask to give Detroit the game winning goal. The Bruins lost that game, but it obviously made them refocus and be themselves again. They strolled into Game 2 playing aggressive hockey getting two 1st period goals from young guys Justin Florek and Reilly Smith and never looked back after that. The Bruins would keep the series even winning 4-1. In a pivotal Game 3, the Bruins yet again came out as the aggressors and yet again got two early goals from two young guys, Dougie Hamilton and Jordan Caron. Tuukka Rask had a great game with 23 saves and a shutout to give Boston a favorable 2-1 series lead.

            Game 4 was a must-win for the Red Wings as they could not afford to go down 3-1 in the series with two games in Boston remaining. Early in the 2nd period, the Wings took a 2-0 lead on a Pavel Datsyuk goal. The Bruins were in a tough spot, but not finished. Torey Krug answered by slapping home a power play goal just minutes later to cut the lead in half. The Bruins headed into the 3rd period down only one. Just a minute into the 3rd, Carl Soderberg, the one eyed Swede, drove hard to the net and left a beauty of a pass to Milan Lucic who put it away to tie the game at 2-2. The play was a beauty from the hot Soderberg, who somehow had the vision and whereabouts to make the pass to Looch. The teams ended up going to overtime tied at two. For most of the overtime period, Boston controlled the pace and physicality of the game. All of this eventually paid off when Jarome Iginla scored the game winner on a shot from the dot that tipped in. The Bruins had shown some serious resilience coming back down two goals on the road and winning to take a commanding 3-1 series lead headed back to Boston.

            Back in Boston for Game 5, the Bruins just needed one more victory to secure a spot to play the Candians in the East Semis. The Bruins scored first on a Loui Eriksson power play goal. Then, Pavel Datsyuk answered tying the game at one for his third goal of the series. But then, just minutes later in the 2nd, the Bruins answered on a Zdeno Chara power play goal to take control of the game. As you can see, the Bruins were ready to respond to every shot Detroit took at them in this game. Detroit tied the game at two, then yet again, the resilient Bruins got a goal from Lucic to take a 3-2 lead which wasn’t going anywhere. The Bruins held off the Wings the rest of the 3rd and got a late empty net goal from Iginla to solidify the victory. The Bruins lost the first game of series and after that, did not look back, winning four straight games. The Bruins looked like the Bruins of March, who controlled every game in every facet.

            It was nice to see some great play from Carl Soderberg, who showed he can be a playmaker for the third line in the playoffs too. It was also nice to see the Bruins look fine on the 3rd and 4th lines even though Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly were missing. There were many things to like in this series, Rask’s netminding, Lucic finding the back of the net three times and good defensive play from the young guys, especially Miller all contributed to the B’s moving on to play the Habs. All of these guys and everyone else will have to play their ‘A’ game to beat Montreal.

            The historic Boston-Montreal rivalry will be renewed in just days. The last time these two met in the playoffs, it was a blood bath in 2011 that took an overtime Game 7 goal for the Bruins to win the series. This series in 2014 will come down to goaltending as it always does. Tuukka Rask in one of the best in the world and we all know that, but Carey Price is nothing to laugh at either, as he has had his best season yet in the NHL. We all know the Habs are the floppers of the NHL so the special teams in this series will play a HUGE factor. The Bruins need to play smart hockey and not try to take off the heads of the pests in Montreal no matter how tempting it may be. The Bruins have struggled with the Habs in recent season and Tuukka Rask especially has not had a good career vs. them. He and the team need to jump these hurdles to move on to the East Finals, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t. The B’s are the best team in the league, and as long as they play like it, they should win this series vs. the damn Habs!!! Let’s go Bruins!