Friday, April 09, 2010
BRUINS USE SABRES TO SLICE INTO PLAYOFFS
With the season-long ineptitude of the offense, and with the absence of Stuart and Seidenberg, there are three Bruins who have to bear a heavy load carrying this team into the postseason: Rask, Chara, and Wideman. And all three came through last night.
Rask continued his stifling dominance of Buffalo. The only goal he allowed was on an open ice breakaway. He made several point-blank stops that demonstrated his poise, awareness, and positioning. In a Bruins/Sabres postseason match-up, Rask is the Bruins' Ace in the hole.
Chara is the only Bruin who had a career year last season, to continue that success into this campaign. He had another fantastic night at the blue-line, despite being his face being encased in the full mask to protect his recently broken nose. Chara had 30:20 of ice time. That's astonishing. Remember, he'll need post-season surgery, and also played a few games for Slovakia.
Dennis Wideman got some boos early on. But I'll defend his giveaway that sprung Derek Roy for Buffalo's opening goal. It was a foolish play, but I'll give credit to Wideman for taking a chance and trying to help out his team's struggling offense. It was dumb to give the puck up with a scorer like Roy in the area, but I'll give Wideman an A for aggressiveness.
And thank God for Miroslav Satan.
The Bruins treated this like a playoff game and won. Albeit against a Buffalo team that treated this as a pre-playoff warm-up (no Vanek, no Miller). The important thing is, the Bruins now control their own destiny. A win Saturday (or Sunday), just 2 points, and the B's make the playoffs. In fact they're currently 6th, thanks to Carolina crushing Montreal 5-2. Here are the standings:
Team - Games Remaining - Points
6. BOSTON - 2 - 87 points
7. Montreal - 1 - 87 points
8. Philadelphia - 2 - 86 points
9. NY Rangers - 2 - 84 points
The Rangers and Flyers play each tonight. If the Rangers lose in regulation, the Bruins clinch a spot. If the Bruins win both their games this weekend, they secure the 6th seed.
Bruins host Carolina Saturday afternoon, then play in Washington Sunday afternoon.
AP Photo/Charles Krupa