Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Bruins vs Red Wings NHL Playoff Preview

Well hockey fans, it’s finally that time. That time of the year where the weather starts to warm, but all of our attention is on the ice. The regular season no longer matters; in the playoffs, anything can and will happen. As a Bruins fan I am confident rolling into the post season (how could you not be as the President’s Cup winner and overall #1 seed) but the draw of the Red Wings does slightly scare. Needless to say it would not have been my first choice for which team we drew first round (although the original six matchup makes me giddier than a young boy prepping for his first rub-and-tug). They are a battle tested, veteran driven, and well coached squad. The team is just beginning to get healthy after an injury-ridden season. The scariest part of it all is undoubtedly the return of one of the world’s best players in Pavel Datsyuk, and the rumors of a potential late series return of captain Henrik Zetterberg. As this series drags on, which I hope it does not, the Red Wings will only get better. Moreover, the Red Wings won the regular season bout by a final tally of 3 games to 1, but like I said…it’s playoff time and anything can happen. Especially when you are the Stanley Cup favorite.

Let’s take a look at some of the key components to this series:

1. Goalie Play
As any good hockey fan knows, a team with a hot goalie is a scary team. Thankfully for the B’s we have arguably the best goaltender in the NHL. Tuukka boasted a .940 save percentage in last years playoffs, as well as a .938 save percentage in this years Olympics which means he is one cold-blooded Fin. Meanwhile, on the other side of the tilt, former UMAINE graduate Jimmy Howard has had a miserable season, but don’t let that fool you; he too has been known to turn it on in the playoffs, and if he gets hot it could get scary. Nonetheless, advantage- Bruins.

2. Forward Play
I think one of the biggest advantages the bruins have is their ability to score. The depth of our lines makes us more than just a threat, but a power. Look no further than the fact that the top 4 of 5 +/- leaders in the NHL belong to the Brewcrew. That’s more than impressive. Also, the Detroit forwards are extremely small, which means Chara is gunna be HUNGRY. Detroit should prove to have a difficult time creating offensive pressure with our big defense, but they always seem to find a way.

3. Top 5 Players to Watch (goalies not included)
           1. Loui Eriksson
You guys remember that scrub Tyler Seguin?!!! Oh shit, he’s 4th in the league with points this year with 84 which is ONLY 47 more points than my boy Loui has this year. BUT…Loui is a two-way player so he means more to this team remember? Okay okay, I’ll lay off Chiarelli and Cam Neely because at the time I liked the trade. And you know what? I still do. Loui is 6 years removed from the playoffs and ready to come on strong for the boys in black and yellow. He has successfully (with the help of Kelly and Soderberg) created the best 3rd line in hockey. Plus, he is finally healthy.“He's skating a lot better,” Julien said last month. “It seems like he's found his rhythm. What is it? I think it's a matter of getting over those concussions. We've seen it with players. It's hard to come back from a concussion. It takes a long time to find your stride and also that confidence. Right now, he's really good. He's got a good stick. He makes a lot of good heads-up plays. Very seldom do you see him make a mistake. He's patient with the puck. He finds his guys. He's just been a real good player. Hanging on to the puck and being strong on it gives you some opportunities to go on the power play.”(Boston.Com)
            2. Jerome Iginla
Oh this asshole? Snubbed the Bruins last year to play for a team with a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup. Lotta good that did him. Finally he got his head straight and the Bruins welcomed him to the Garden this year where he has not only replaced Nathan Horton on the first line, but completely erased him from the minds of Bruins fans. Iggy had a nice 31 goal season playing with Krecji and Lucic. Pair that with Bergeron’s 30 goal season, the Bruins had their first pair of 30 goals scorers since 2003 back in the Joe Thornton era. One of the smartest players in hockey is ready to hoist the beautiful cup high above his head, and hoist he will. Man I love Iginla now, what a stud.
            3. Pavel Datsyuk
A healthy Datsyuk is scary. There is a reason he is, and has been for a while now, one of the best in the world. It won’t take long for him to make an impact on this series.
            4. Zdeno Chara
The biggest freak on ice. There’s really no need to elaborate here, the man is a fucking mammoth and will eat you like a goddamn churro after finishing up at a Tijuana Donkey Show (if you don’t know, you can’t afford it).

            5. Niklas Kronwall
Kronwall is no defensive slouch in his own right, and if the Red Wings have a shot at this thing he is going to have to step up big and help shut down our ferocious first line. A savvy veteran himself, he is going to have a huge impact on this series due to his vast playoff experience.

To be honest, I could have put another 3-4 guys in this top 5 (Krejci, Bergeron, Marchand) but there can only be 5 and those guys would have been too easy. Get psyched gentleman, it’s FINALLY that time of year…PLAYOFF HOCKEY!

Final Prediction- Bruins win in 6