Bruins’ fans hoping for rest; Red Wings rally to force Game 6

Patrice Bergeron is out at least a week with a mild concussion. (aol images)

Most of the time, fans cannot wait for the next playoff series to start, especially when it is their team’s first visit to the conference finals in 19 years. However, most Boston Bruins fans are hoping the Bruins have a few more days off.

The Bruins will open the Eastern Conference finals some day this week (no earlier than Wednesday as of this moment, due to Nashville and Detroit each forcing a Game 6 in the Western Conference). For many fans, the break cannot be long enough after the news regarding Patrice Bergeron broke Saturday morning,

Bergeron suffered what general manager Peter Chiarelli termed a “mild concussion” in Friday’s series-clinching victory over Philadelphia. Bergeron was rocked by a hard check by Claude Giroux moments after making a pass in the defensive zone. He skated off the ice and into the locker room under his own power.

With Bergeron’s concussion history, he will need at least a week to recover – even from a mild concussion. Therefore, the longer before the series starts, the better for the Bruins and Bergeron.

In other words, B’s fans should be hoping the Predators and/or Red Wings can force a Game 7, which will limit the amount of games Bergeron might miss.

Of course, there comes a point where a team can get too much time off. With that much time off, practices lose their edge, players lose focus, and the legs (ironically) may grow tired. The competitive spirit, which is so important at this time of the year, fades away.

Two years ago, the Bruins had nine days off heading into the semifinals against Carolina, and they looked rusty. The same can be said for Detroit, who was sluggish in Games 1 and 2 against San Jose this year.

“I think it can be used to your advantage, and that’s what we’ll try to do,” goalie Tim Thomas said. “We’ll try to find the correct balance between getting the mental and physical rest — but also keeping your body and mind battle-ready.”

Detroit showing heart

After sleepwalking through Games 1 and 2, giving away Game 3, and looking like they were ready to pack it in, Detroit has rallied to win back-to-back games and force a Game 6 in its Western Conference semifinal series against San Jose.

Tomas Holmstrom scored the game-winning goal for Detroit, forcing a Game 6. (winginingitmotown.com)

The Red Wings have shown the heart and determination of a champion in their two wins. Detroit shot out to a 3-0 lead in Game 4, but San Jose rallied to tie the game in the third period. With the season on the line and momentum entirely in the Sharks’ favor, the Red Wings surged over the final five minutes and got a key goal from Darren Helm to force Game 5 in San Jose,

The situation in Game 5 was even worse, as the Sharks jumped out to a 2-0 lead and then got a breakaway goal from Logan Couture early in the third. With San Jose dominating the game up until that point, it seemed the Sharks were certain to close out the series on home ice.

But Detroit scored three goals over a 10:09 span of the third to win the game. Jonathan Ericsson breathed some life in Detroit with his goal at 3:43, and Danny Cleary tied the game less than two minutes later. Tomas Holmstrom gave Detroit the lead with 6:08 to play, tipping a Nicklas Lidstrom shot past Antii Niemi.

“We weren’t giving up at all,” Lidstrom told the Detroit Free Press. “We kept going after them, getting pucks to the net. We tried to be active on ‘D’ when we can. We just kept shooting pucks on the net, because we’re not going to give up. We had to win today and that’s what we did.”

Once again, the Red Wings relied heavily on goalie Jimmy Howard, who made 39 saves – including 28 over the first two periods. Howard has seen at least 37 shots in all but one game of the series and has been Detroit’s best player, posting a .921 save percentage.

Thanks for reading — feel free to leave comments and/or questions.

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Topics: Boston Bruins, Danny Cleary, Detroit Red Wings, Jimmy Howard, Jonathan Ericsson, Nicklas Lidstrom, Patrice Bergeron, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tomas Holmstrom

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