Thursday, April 15, 2010
I hope you enjoy that video of goals, because you won't see many in this series. The Bruins were 29th in scoring this season. The Sabres were 11th, but they struggled to get the puck past Tuukka Rask. Rask had a 1.43 GAA against Buffalo this season.
The Bruins aren't coming into this series with a full compliment of players. Savard is out of course, but what might hurt even more is their injuries on the blue-line. No Seidenberg, no Stuart. In a low-scoring defensive series as this apparently will be, losing your 2nd and 3rd best defensemen is a hard wound to protect. The playoffs have a way of exposing weaknesses and inconsistencies. Inconsistency, thy name is Wideman.
The B's have momentum, though. They had to win their way into the playoffs, going 5-1-1 down the stretch. Buffalo clinched the Northeast Division early, and strolled into the postseason 2-4-0 in April.
This series rests on three men for the Bruins: Tuukka Rask, David Krejci, and Dennis Wideman.
All Rask has to do is continue to play as he's been playing, to not let the playoffs shirk him from his task. Just keep up the good work.
The Bruins need Wideman to be as solid as he's been the last few games of the season. But his mindset isn't suited for playoff hockey. He struggles to keep his gameplay simple. He's terrified to make mistakes. He needs to relax and just play his game.
David Krejci had his best month in March, with 6 goals and 10 assists in 16 games. The Bruins need that level of play to continue into the playoffs. He's the closest thing the Bruins have to a scorer, and he can also set-up guys like Recchi, Satan, and Sturm.
The Bruins had one 20 goal scorer in Marco Sturm. And that's sad. The Sabres had four 20 goal scorers, and it'll be up to Rask and the defensemen to shut them down.
If Julien and the Bruins play a patient, conservative, defensively minded series, they'll prevail. If they lose their patience and take risks in a desperate effort to beat Ryan Miller, they'll lose.
I'm a homer, so I'm picking the Bruins in 7.