As the Bruins hung on last night to clinch thier Eastern Quarterfinal match up with the North Division rival Buffalo Sabres, many a prognosticator considered it to be an upset!
Was it because of the 6- 3 seeding? Was it because many feel Ryan Miller was unbeatable and a considerable edge versus the NHL playoff virgin Tuuka Rask? Or was it because most of the season the Bruins had trouble scoring even with the other teams goaltender pulled?!!! LOL
While most of those points would be valid going into the pre-playoff predictions, at the end of the day all the regular season tendencies are for naught when you play physical, win on the road, get the goaltending and win the special teams war.
The Bruins did all this and for that they should be proud. By the same token, the Sabres shouldn't hang their heads if not for special teams, this series most likely would be shuffling off to Buffalo for a game 7.
The Bruins finally realized that a PP cannot live on a Chara and Boychuk boom alone!!!
They moved the puck down low brilliantly, toying with the Buffalo pk, using the point men as a decoy on most occasions. I would like to see this game plan for the PP from here on out, working as a five man unit.
The penalty killing has been wonderful all season long, but hit it's stride in that late season Carolina game when they scored 3 SH goals on one penalty kill.
It has been aggressive and unrelenting since that game and needs to be against Pittsburgh for sure!
I said to many a friend before the playoffs started that I actually like this seasons playoff version of the Bruins better than last. For one...nobody was picking them to do anything unlike last seasons expectations. Two because of the way they played down the stretch...it was basically playoff hockey for the last dozen games or so.
I think this tempered the boys for what lie ahead. Now if we get Savard back and Wheeler and Sturm can hit their offensive strides (Ryder broke out of his funk in this series) maybe we can at least put a scare into the defending cup champions!!!