Monday, April 21, 2014

Bruins Even Series With Red Wings

I wonder if Reilly Smith thanked Zdeno Chara after the game for not murdering his brother Brendan and then drinking his blood.

Game 1 looked like one team had been playing meaningless games for a few weeks and the other had been playing under pressure while fighting for a playoff spot. One team played at regular season pace, another at playoff pace. Guess which team was the Bruins and which was the Red Wings.

In Game 2 the Bruins fully shifted into playoff gear. Every play had just a little more speed, a little more power. They took advantage of Detroit's mistakes, they took advantage of power plays, and they outmuscled the Red Wings.

It's so refreshing for the Bruins to have a potent power play in the postseason. Reilly Smith scored a power play goal in the 1st and Zdeno Chara scored one in the 3rd. Of the 6 people involved in the goals, 4 weren't regulars last season and 3 weren't on the team at all (Krug, Smith, Eriksson, Iginla). The Bruins have an improved power play because they have improved power players. How well they maintain that production with a man advantage throughout the playoffs will dictate how far they advance.

It helped that the refs called Detroit for their obstruction plays. We'll see if that continues in Detroit or if Mike Babcock is able to lobby the officials to call something on the Bruins.

The B's have the superior power play and a tighter penalty kill. The Red Wings don't have good special teams, so the Bruins find themselves in the unfamiliar position of wanting the refs to be more involved.

Game 3 is in Detroit on Tuesday night. The Red Wings should be back with a strong effort, and they'll learn from the lessons of Game 2. It's important for the Bruins that the Krejci line be productive. Detroit's been able to limit them. The Bruins shouldn't rely on officials and power plays for the bulk of their offense. They need their best forwards to score 5-on-5.

Photo Credit:
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

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