The primary-round upsets did quite a lot of the heavy lifting for Boston, and now the trail to the ultimate – and the Stanley Cup – is obvious for the Bruins.Tuukka Rask and David Krejci|Steve Babineau/NHLI through Getty ImagesWith the way during which probably the most compelling, chaotic and unpredictable Spherical 1 in NHL historical past unfolded, solely a mug would make a daring prediction for the way the remainder of the playoffs will prove. So, after all, right here goes: The Stanley Cup is the Boston Bruins’ to lose.
That’s as a result of the overwhelming majority of the heavy lifting has already been finished for them by the group they’re going to face within the second spherical, the Columbus Blue Jackets. And together with their ousting of the Toronto Maple Leafs in Spherical 1 and Carolina defeating the Washington Capitals, the most important threats to them getting by the Jap Convention have been dispatched. The Bruins have the requisite expertise, they’re a heavy group with talent they usually have secured home-ice benefit by the rest of the post-season. That they had 61 of their 107 factors on the TD Backyard, which is by far the very best variety of any group left within the playoffs. And so they’re comparatively wholesome.
Of the eight groups remaining within the post-season, the Bruins had been the perfect game-in and game-out throughout the common season. In fact, that meant bupkis throughout the first spherical of the playoffs, however you need to keep in mind that the longer the playoffs go, the chance of mayhem and upsets and chaos decreases with each passing spherical. You would argue that proper right here and proper now, the Bruins have the perfect participant (Brad Marchand), the perfect goalie (Tuukka Rask) and the perfect No. 1 line (Marchand-Patrice Bergeron-David Pastrnak) of the groups remaining. And for all of the speak of how dominant the Bergeron line is, the Bruins bought targets from 13 completely different gamers of their first-round conquer the Maple Leafs.
It’s actually laid out for Boston in a method that would not have been extra advantageous to them in the event that they drew it up themselves. They’ll play Recreation 1 of the second spherical on at some point’s relaxation, whereas the Blue Jackets could have not performed any significant hockey in 9 days. That has bought to be a bonus for the Bruins early within the sequence and provides them a chance to leap out right into a lead earlier than the Blue Jackets even get their ft again beneath them. Columbus feasted on the facility play within the first spherical, scoring on half of their benefits in opposition to a group that got here into the playoffs with the perfect penalty-killing within the league. Is that going to occur once more? In all probability not.
These are clearly not the Blue Jackets that floundered for a lot of the season and took their candy time getting their act collectively after their commerce deadline acquisitions. There’s a likelihood this could possibly be a redux of the 2012 Los Angeles Kings and if that’s the case, then no person has an opportunity in opposition to them. However the feeling right here, and in a lot of the hockey world, is that the Bruins simply have too many weapons and are two well-rounded to stumble in opposition to the thrill noticed that’s the Blue Jackets. And Columbus received’t be capable to lean on the Bruins, both.
So I’m going to say Bruins in six video games. The expertise would be the deciding issue. The Bruins have 5 key gamers – Marchand, Bergeron, David Krejci, Zdeno Chara and Rask – who’ve received a Stanley Cup and the Blue Jackets have one in Artemi Panarin. And far of their group simply discovered what it’s prefer to win a playoff sequence.
Armed with my Four-Four mark within the first spherical, right here’s how I see the remainder of the sequence turning out. (These views don’t essentially replicate these of THN.)
New York Islanders vs. Carolina HurricanesThis is the sequence predicted by no person ever. On paper, the Islanders are the higher group, however the Hurricanes have one thing magical occurring. The Islanders had been the league’s stingiest group in each the common season and the primary spherical of the playoffs. Neither group has finished a lot on the facility play, so particular groups may not even issue into the end result.Prediction: Islanders in 6
San Jose Sharks vs. Colorado AvalancheThis could possibly be probably the most compelling matchup of the second spherical, pitting the expertise and savvy of the Sharks in opposition to the youthful enthusiasm and fast ft of the Avalanche. You actually should marvel how a lot the Sharks have left within the tank after their emotional Spherical 1 sequence in opposition to the Vegas Golden Knights. A lot is determined by whether or not the Martin Jones who received the final three video games of the primary spherical exhibits up.Prediction: Avalanche in 7
St. Louis Blues vs. Dallas StarsThe Blues are deeper, extra proficient and extra explosive than the Stars and though Jordan Binnington was superb within the first spherical, he wasn’t the identical lights-out participant he was throughout the common season. And the scary factor is the Blues did a lot of their harm with their secondary gamers. Vladimir Tarasenko contributed nothing five-on-five and that’s not a pattern that’s prone to proceed.Prediction: Blues in 6
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Tags: boston bruins, playoffsConnect: In regards to the AuthorKen CampbellKen Campbell, The Hockey Information’ senior author, is in his second tour with the model after an eight-year stint as a beat reporter for the Maple Leafs for the Toronto Star. The Sudbury native as soon as tried out for the Ontario League’s Wolves as a 30-year-old. For sure, it did not work out.