2015 playoffs prove Boston Bruins are vulnerable


The Ottawa Senators out-played the Boston Bruins to rightfully earn their spot in the playoffs. Though their postseason was brief, the fans in Ottawa witnessed an intriguing and gripping six-game series. While playing the last two months of the regular season with playoff-like desperation, Ottawa managed to freeze Montreal and nearly forced a Game 7 notching the series to 3-2 after being down 3-0.

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2 trades the Boston Bruins must make to secure the Stanley Cup /

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  • Juxtapose to the Senators, the Bruins were lifeless in the final stretch of the regular season with often disinterested players, such as Reilly Smith. The Bruins never reached the desperate play of a team wrangling for a playoff position. Instead, Boston was obfuscated. Elusive teams, such as the teams in the playoffs, walked over the B’s outright.

    Thus, the only silver lining from the Bruins not making the playoffs is not seeing them get slaughtered.

    Imagine if Boston landed Montreal in Round 1. The 0-4 regular season record against their rivals says it all. Montreal was, and is, the better team in 2014-2015. It’s unclear how Boston would fare against the Canadians in the playoffs, but what is certain is that Montreal is not the only team inhabiting the playoffs with a similar skill caliber.

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    The New York Rangers, Washington Capitals, and Tampa Bay Lighting all play a similar brand of hockey to Montreal, and have all transitioned to the second round of the playoffs. If Boston skated into the playoffs, they potentially could have snatched Pittsburg’s matchup with the Rangers. While Boston finished the season series ahead (2-1), the Rangers elevate their game in the post season, much like the prior when they landed a spot in the Stanley Cup Finals.

    The Rangers play with topnotch speed. They are tenacious on loose pucks. Ryan McDonagh is a powerhouse defenseman who finds himself cluttering the goal crease regularly. Derek Stepan is a physical centerman who can snap pucks past goaltenders. Elusive forwards like Carl Hagelin, Mats Zuccarello, and Chris Kreider prove to be overwhelming and create mismatches for opponents.

    Image rolling out the former Bruin Gregory Campbell against this team. Advantage New York.

    It’s a similar rap sheet for the other three finalists in the Eastern Conference.

    Carey Price is arguably the MVP of the league this year, and has singlehandedly led the Canadians this far as the team’s most potent difference-maker. Montreal would have wrecked similar havoc for Boston, albeit the Canadians’ most lethal trait is their power play. The Canadians were also a much better forechecking team than Boston this year, and their forechecking in the playoffs has allowed them to climb back into their series with the Lightning. Montreal’s size mingles with their quick legs. Brendan Gallagher makes you pay when the puck strolls along the half boards, because even with the smallest of windows, he boasts the determination to beat you to the net. The forecheck gradually became a weapon for Montreal this season and into the playoffs. Boston’s forecheck was as dull as their play in the final week of the season.

    Although Washington has more brawn and experienced veterans, the Lightning draw parallels. Braden Holtby and Ben Bishop have commissioned veteran outings with solid numbers. Holtby is posting a .944 save percentage while Bishop posts a .930. Coach Jon Cooper has managed his Lighting team with pose, mingling his roster around midgame and presenting big minutes to his limited playoff experienced skaters, such as Ryan Callahan. Tyler Johnson has become a constant threat for opponents while posting eight goals in the playoffs, good for No. 1 in the league.

    For Washington, it’s been the productivity of their number one forward line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and Joel Ward. The line has often times out worked and out manned the Rangers in key situations, such as in Game 1 when Joel Ward muscled a puck past Henrik Lundqvist. The team plays with nonstop pace and heaviness, which resulted in the Islanders’ early exit from the postseason.

    It’s hard to envision the Bruins, with the team that they presented this year, to compete with the highly skilled, youthful, and speedy opposition that consumes the East. President Cam Neely can only watch with all Bruins fans as teams have already begun the youthful, speedy off the rush transition that Neely so desperately is fighting for with his team.

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