Despite B’s Success, Red Wings Aren’t an Easy Team
Based on how they played in the NHL regular season, the Boston Bruins deservedly won the President’s Trophy, streaking at the right times and often devastating adversaries on both sides of the ice.
The Bruins, capturing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, face off against the eighth seed Detroit Red Wings starting Friday night in Boston. This best of seven-game series, by the numbers, should have the Bruins’ advancing to the next round. The Bruins hold the greatest odds to win the Stanley Cup, while the Red Wings harbor significantly lower chances.
The Red Wings, nonetheless, aren’t your run-of-the-mill playoff bottom feeder. They’re more threatening than what their record reveals on paper from the 2013-14 season.
Although Detroit’s offense demonstrated inconsistency and stagnancy that, one could argue, the Bruins will simply exploit, captains Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg played only half of the season, each making 45 appearances.
The Eastern Conference squad met the Bruins four times, overall in the regular season, getting the best of the Bruins in the series, winning three out of four games. Granted, two of those victories saw heavy contributions from Zetterberg, who is still third on the Red Wings in overall points (48). Reports have informed us, however, that he probably won’t perform against the B’s at all.
In that case, he’s a non-factor right now, but examining Boston’s most recent match against the Red Wings, a 3-2 late-game defeat without Zetterberg, you have to realize that Mike Babcock’s squad can hang tough with the Bruins. Iginla was absent then and a goal from Torey Krug was taken away, but the Bruins’ team, as a whole, didn’t meet the benchmarks set by Detroit in the Apr. 2 loss.
Peter Chiarelli talked about Babcock and Red Wings with the utmost respect.
“Mike Babcock — he’s a really sharp guy. I got to sit in on their coaches’ meetings in advance of the Olympics and during the Olympics, and he’s very, very bright,” Peter Chiarelli told media earlier this week. “So I have a lot of respect for them (Red Wings), but now they’re competitors, the other side of the ice, so we’ll figure out a way to beat them.”
Claude Julien and Babcock are both excellent coaches, so the results may come down to individual performances and 1-on-1 battles. Essentially, if the Bruins can’t contain Datsyuk and Detroit point-leader Daniel Alfredsson, interesting hockey will ensue.