The Boston Bruins look to be the contender that many expected them to be, at least for one round. Boston took Game Five by a score of 4-2, and took the first round series against Detroit by a total of four games to one. In a battle between two battle-tested, veteran teams, Boston’s overwhelming talent and physical play, in addition to their solid goaltending, allowed the Bruins to make short work of the Detroit Red Wings.
If there was one concern for Boston before this series started, it was the Red Wings’ stellar playoff history. Though the Red Wings came into the series as the eighth seed, it was hard to consider them the underdogs. Making the playoffs for 23 consecutive years means the organization can never be underestimated, especially with playoff veterans like Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall on the team. This seemed to supported when Detroit upset the Bruins in Game One, getting a late third period goal by Datsyuk to win the game, 1-0. However, Game Two and Three allowed Boston to regain control of the series, allowing only one goal over the two-game span.
Game Four seemed to seal the series, regardless of the result today’s game. Detroit would grab a 2-0 lead in the game, but goals by Torey Krug and Milan Lucic would leave a 2-2 tie when the horn sounded at the end of regulation. Game Four was being sent to overtime. The Red Wings had a chance to end the game early, after Justin Abdelkader found himself all alone on a breakaway just seconds into the overtime period. Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask stood strong and made the save. A flukey goal would end Game Four in Boston’s favor, after a shot by Dougie Hamilton deflected first off Boston forward Jarome Iginla, then off Red Wings defender Danny DeKeyser and into the net.
The missed chance in overtime, followed by the strange deflection to end the game, seemed to deflate the Red Wings. A team can fight against the odds, but no one can fight against fate, and after that goal, the Bruins seemed fated to win the series. Game Five ended as expected, with Boston grabbing a 3-1 lead early in the third and any push by the Red Wings coming far too late to make a difference. A late “Too Many Men on the Ice” penalty sealed the fate of Detroit in Game Five. After the game, Iginla pointed as the overtime goal in Game Four as the “tipping point in the series.”
For the Boston Bruins, they turn their attention to a series against long-time heated rivals, the Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens made short work of their first round opponents, the Tampa Bay Lightning, sweeping the series 4-0. The two teams both play very different styles and hold very different philosophies. While Boston plays a physical, defensive game, Montreal is built around speed and shiftiness. The upcoming series should be worth a watch, for not only the rivalry aspect, but to watch and find out which style will come out ahead.
For the Red Wings, it is the end of an era. For decades, they were considered a powerhouse in the NHL. No team wanted to face Detroit in the playoffs, regardless of where they were seeded. This year, something has changed. Detroit barely made the playoffs, finally earning a spot in the final week of the season, and their first round series ended in a whimper rather than a bang. All teams must go through a rebuild at some point, and though their run has been long and enviable, it appears that the time for a rebuild in Detroit is fast approaching. Even the return of their captain and long-time playoff veteran, Henrik Zetterberg, midway through the series could not revive the lifeless play of Detroit. With many of their key players pushing retirement age, the Red Wings are looking at a rough couple of years in the near future.
After today’s game against the Red Wings, the Boston Bruins have shown they were not peaking too early during their strong play in the regular season. They made short work of Detroit in the first round series, and if they continue to play the same way for the rest of the playoffs, the Bruins should find no trouble against any future opponents as well.
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