The regular season is over for the Boston Bruins, and we’ve got a lot to look forward. We’ve got at least four exciting games between the first seed Black and Gold, and the surprisingly dangerous eighth seed Detroit Red Wings. While a lot of people say the Bruins will easily handle the Red Wings, there are a few X-factors that I’m sure Claude Julien and the coaching staff are looking out for.
The Wings are finally getting back to full strength. They went 39-28-15 with a team that was desperate for serious talent when their stars got hurt. The Wings ended up using thirty seven players this season (Eight of them were rookies who made their NHL debut’s this year.). Pavel Datsyuk is back in the line up for Detroit, finally back to one hundred percent after his knee injury. Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson, who were both down due to surgeries (back and finger respectively), could easily be ready near the end of the first round as well.
The Red Wings players buy into their system the same way the Bruins do. Neither team has a Sidney Crosby or a Alex Ovechkin. The great thing about that is, that neither team needs them. They play to a team concept, and the players on both squads believe in it. The Bruins bought in and won the conference. The Red Wings bought in out of strategic necessity to stay alive to reach the postseason.
The Bruins will also need to watch the speed of Detroit. Detroit can get into the heavy grind game with Boston, but it wouldn’t be to their advantage. The Wings have been known for Datsyukian levels of speed and finesse, and if they play to that strength, the Black and Gold could start getting Black and Blue.
There are several silver linings to this match up. First, the last time these teams ran into each other Gordie Howe was on the ice. The Bruins bested them in five all the way back in 1957. Back then, it was the Red Wings that were the number one seed. We can also be thankful that this match up won’t have the animosity your average Bruins-Canadiens game will have. It won’t be a garden party, but it certainly won’t be the slue-footing, cheap shoting, heaving boarding, punch and turtle play we’ve seen from the only Canadian team to make it into the playoffs this year.
It’s not hard to make a case for the 6-1 drubbing they handed the Bruins as being the worst loss Boston faced all season.