tclakin

Pregaming Game 1

In Uncategorized on May 1, 2009 at 7:55 pm

Get some

 

The keys for the Bruins tonight in game 1 – and really, in the entire series – boil down to the Big Three:

1. Special Teams (the PK and the Power Play)

2. Goaltending

3. Toughness 

So far in the playoffs, the Bruins have been the only perfect team on the penalty kill, having killed off all 8 of their shorthanded situations. This is a testament to the talent of defensemen Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman, and if the Bruins can continue to dodge shorthanded bullets, they will put themselves in a great spot to win. Similarly, against the Canadiens the Bruins went 4/16 on the power play with big Z contributing a couple bombs and they’ve looked good overall on the man advantage. Kill penalties and score on the power play and it becomes almost hard not to win. 

Tank has no problem dropping the gloves

Vezina candidate Timmy Thomas has been lights out in goal so far in the postseason, surrending only 6 goals throughout 4 games against the Habs, and not more than 2 in any one game. If he steps up as he has all year for this Bruins team, they’ll have a great shot to come out on top. He comes into this series holding  some dominant playoff stats with a .946 save percentage and a 1.50 Goals Against Average, a pace we’d all like to see him maintain. It’s going to be a good battle between Thomas and former Conn Smythe winner Cam Ward on the Hurricanes side (.938 sv, 2.11 GAA), but I bet we’ll see an outstanding performance out of the fiery Bruins veteran. Plus, if Game 1 deteriorates (elevates?) into a line brawl and both teams pair off, I like Thomas against any goalie in the league in a fistfight.

Finally, my favorite category of all – toughness. The Bruins are blessed with bangers and from top-to-bottom they have guys who aren’t afraid to throw their weight around. Guys like Zdeno Chara, Mark Stuart, Sheriff Shane Hnidy, Sugar Shawn Thornton and obviously, the Rabid Wolverine Milan Lucic. Hell, even Patty Bergeron got into the action against the Habs, dropping Josh Gorges with a swift left to the chin. Look for a well-rested Bruins team to punch the Canes in the mouth early. If they come out forechecking up front, the offense will flow from there and the goals will come. The  bottom line is this – the Bruins are set up beautifully for a smooth, hard-checking game or a brutal street fight. It doesn’t matter. This team is built to win hockey games, and that’s what they’ll do tonight. 

The Pick: Bruins 3-1

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