Why the Boston Bruins Need to Eliminate Detroit Now


Apr 22, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) celebrates with teammates after game three of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. The Bruins won 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Importance of Game 5 for Bruins

Game 5 of the Boston BruinsDetroit Red Wings‘ series will take place tomorrow afternoon. The B’s lead the series 3-1 after a fortune overtime goal iced Boston’s victory at the Joe on Thursday.

While it’s easy to think that the Bruins will eliminate the ‘Wings at the TD Garden, two game advantages haven’t led to simple success for the Bruins, especially last year. Claude Julien‘s squad gathered a comfortable 3-1 series lead against the Toronto Maple Leafs, only to find themselves in an overtime Game 7 by the end of the round.

The Bruins, down two goals in the third period of Game 7, mounted a spectacular comeback in the waning minutes of the contest. Weeks later, they powered their way into the Stanley Cup to wrestle the Chicago Blackhawks.

”Sometimes it’s more of a mental challenge than a physical challenge,” Tuukka Rask said, according to CBS Sports game preview. ”You kind of start thinking about the end score of the game before the game even starts, and you kind of feel and hope that you get to do that. But I think we’ve learned over the years that it doesn’t help us. We just have to focus on our job and the game itself.”

But what if these early round failures actually hurt them this year?

The B’s sit in great position obviously, despite fielding an “unhealthy” defense and third-line forward group. Daniel Paille, Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid have been absent for the start of the playoff round. Still, the Bruins are able to shutout the Red Wings once and notched 3+ goals in three games

If the Bruins can end the series right now, the B’s can recuperate. The players listed above will have the opportunity to take part in more practices, instead of being sidelined for games every other day. They can be fresh and ready to fly in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, restoring Boston to its regular-season self—a formidable, depth-heavy beast.

Looking at the Red Wings side,  Henrik Zetterberg isn’t at full strength yet, and as he continues to skate, he will become more dangerous, particularly in tandem with Pavel Datsyuk.

We found out that the ‘Wings can definitely compete against the Bruins (last night’s game is a solid example). Detroit was actually leading the B’s 2-0 in the second period.

The Bruins stormed back, but Mike Babcock led an effort that almost saw his team grab a dramatic overtime win. It was Rask that came up huge, stopping 35 shots. He can’t necessarily maintain that exertion for the rest of the series.

The Bruins’ defense hasn’t been consistently lazy clearing the puck, but when the Red Wings attacked the crease in Game 4, loose pucks hung around Rask longer than usual. Datysuk’s goal was a product of this trend.

In the end, holding Game 5 in their favor, Detroit has a very good chance of winning Game 6 at a rocking Joe Louis arena. Then, there’s Game 7, an extremely unpredictable competition as any team can suddenly come alive.

The B’s have to play urgent and play to win tomorrow. They can’t drag out this round.