Eastern Conference Playoff Preview: #2 Bruins vs #7 Capitals

Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

 

#2 Boston Bruins (49-29-4 104 points) vs #7 Washington Capitals (42-32-8 92 points)

Season Series: Bruins 1-2-1, Capitals 3-1

Series Schedule:

Game 1: 4/12 WSH @ BOS 6:30 PM

Game 2: 4/14 WSH @ BOS 2 PM

Game 3:  4/16 BOS @ WSH 6:30 PM

Game 4: 4/19 BOS @ WSH 6:30 PM

Game 5*: 4/21 WSH @ BOS 2 PM

Game 6*: 4/22 BOS @ WSH TBD

Game 7*: 4/25 WSH @ BOS TBD

 

Boston

The Bruins will begin their defense of Lord Stanley’s Cup Thursday night at the TD Garden.  It’s hard to say that a team with a 104 points and the #2 seed has struggled but the truth is the Bruins have not been playing their best hockey since the All Star break.  They did finish out the last few weeks of the regular season strong but had some major pot holes in February and early March.  The Bruins are a complete team that can score goals in many different ways.  They were tied for 2nd in the NHL with a 3.17 goals per game average.  They are a well balanced team that are just as likely to score from their 3rd line as their 1st line.  Scoring depth is always a huge key to success in the playoffs and the Bruins have it.  Zdeno Chara leads a very tough defensive core in front of all world goaltender Tim Thomas.  The Bruins are at their best when they play a physical and punishing game which will serve them well in this series.

 

Leading Scorer: Tyler Seguin 29 goals, 38 assists, 67 points

Backstop: Tim Thomas 35-19-1, 2.36 goals against average, .920 save %

Ex-Blackhawks Factor: Shawn Thornton, Marty Turco

Difference Maker: Seguin will be a major factor for the Bruins and their quest to win back to back Cups.  Seguin was a healthy scratch for about half of Boston’s playoff run last season.  He was able to get back on the ice during the Final, due to Nathan Horton’s injury, and made an immediate impact.  Seguin is one of 6 Bruins to score at least 20 goals and is the most dynamic offensive player on a very deep team.

 

Washington

 

The Capitals have had themselves a very interesting year to say the least.  They have fired a head coach and have been left for dead on more than one occasion.  Despite all of that, they come into the post season as one of the NHL’s hottest teams.  They do have a couple of factors working against them in this series.  The first one is their goaltending, which has been plagued with injuries at the worse possible time.  Starter Thomas Vokoun has a groin injury that has his status in question.  Michal Nuevirth suffered a lower body injury and might be on the shelf as well.  This may leave the keys to the car to Braden Holtby who played well in some starts at the end of the last two seasons, but has spent the majority of the year in the AHL.  Another factor that will work against the Caps is the fact that they are not a very physical team.  The Bruins will look to exploit this and thug it up right from the get go.

 

Leading Scorer: Alex Ovechkin 38 goals, 27 assists, 65 points

Backstop: Braden Holtby (I think) 4-2-1, 2.49 goal against average, .922 save %\

Ex-Blackhawks Factor: Troy Brouwer

Difference Maker: Alex Ovechin seems to have his swagger back and gets all the attention, but he can not do it all by himself. Alexander Semin who had 54 points (22 G, 32 A) this season will have to show up on the score sheet if the Caps want any chance to pull off this upset.

 

My Prediction: Bruins in 6.  The Bruins physical play and the Caps lack of goaltending will doom Washington in the end.

 

Topics: Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Boston Bruins, Braden Hotlby, Marty Turco, Michal Nuevirth, Nathan Horton, Shawn Thornton, Stanley Cup Playoffs, Thomas Vokoun, Tim Thomas, Troy Brouwer, Tyler Seguin, Washington Capitals, Zheno Chara

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