14 May 2011
So I asked the boys over at Days of Y'Orr to answer some questions on the series for LHB. They self-proclaim that they are 'just a bunch of Bruins fan schmuks talking about the Bruins like we're drunk at the bar (which is more than likely)', and that sounds like my kind of people. They have quickly become the best Bruins blogs out there. You may know them from the Montreal Canadiens Eulogy on Puck Daddy a few weeks ago.
Besides checking out their blog for the photoshops, be sure to follow all of them all on twitter: Justin, Jon, Robb, Greg and Patrice Purr-geron (a field reporter who is a cat). I'm sure we'll talk a little smack as the series gets started. Many thanks to the guys for taking the time to answer my questions.
As always, we start with some obligatory questions about the Pens' strength/weaknesses and then we'll get into some of the more fun questions.
1. How will the long break between the 2nd and 3rd round effect the Bruins? Will it be for the better or worse??
The B's were playing so good that at first we didn't want to see them stop but the time off will hopefully give Bergeron a bit more time to get his head right (literally) and let McQuaid rest up a little more, too. We all saw what happened to the Bruins as soon as Bergeron went down. Philly had them running around all over the place before Boychuk blasted that go ahead goal home. Hoping Bergeron's concussion isn't "that bad" by concussion standards and the time off helps him be good to go. But you never know with concussions and this isn't Bergy's first.
2. What is the strength of the Bruins in the series?
Well their powerplay should give the Lightning a hard ti... wow can't even finish that with a straight face. Physicality will be the key for the Bruins this series. In their season series with Tampa Bay they showed that hitting everything that moves in a Tampa jersey tends to slow them down. Plus we're definitely pro blasting Martin St. Louis to the ice. He can't score on his ass, right? RIGHT?!
3. What is the biggest weakness of the Bruins in the series?
Special teams. Their power play troubles are well documented but not enough people are talking about how average, or below average, the Bruins penalty kill has been. The Lightning are beasts on the power play and Montreal showed what a good power play can do to the Bruins. Not to mention Tampa Bay's penalty kill has also been stellar. B's need to keep their tempers in check and keep things at even strength.
4. Everyone always hate Steve Downie. Which player on the Bruins will make me hate them by the end of the series?
Definitely Brad Marchand. You will be cursing his name roughly 20 seconds into the game. He's the type of player you love as long as he's playing for you but HATE if he's not. He'll score timely goals, make hits and steal the puck but he'll also get under the skin of your stars, throw the occasional slash or cross check when the refs aren't looking and generally just be an asshole. But that is why we love him.
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5. Coach Guy Boucher calls Tim Thomas "an enigma" and said that he was the biggest potential difference-maker in the series. Do you agree?
100%. Look we're obviously Boston fan boys but we're not fools. Tim Thomas carried the B's on his back while they were busy learning how to win and he completely demoralized Philly shooters in Boston's sweep. If Timmy is on top of his game, there is not a single goalie in the NHL we'd pick over him. The guy flat out steals games. People say his style is lucky. Luck doesn't last this long.
6. Patrice Bergeron is said to be out for at least the beginning of the ECF, how big is this loss? And who will replace him?
Huge, HUGE loss. Bergeron has been the B's best player in the playoffs, outside of arguably Tim Thomas. He's great in all areas of the ice and shuts down opposing team's top lines. As good as Marchand has been these playoffs, we have to wonder if part of that is in relation to how good Bergeron has been. Losing Bergeron is equal to ripping the heart out of the Bruins. We're terrified to think St. Louis, Stamkos and Lecavalier are going to be roaming around without Bergy keeping them in check. Sounds like Seguin is going to replace him based on how the coaches are talking but we'd love to see Jordan Caron get a shot. Neither one is close to Bergeron's level obviously but Caron is good on the PK and is not afraid to charge the net. Who knows though, maybe Seguin comes out on fire after sitting so long and helps ignite the B's power play. We can dream.
7. The Bruins owned the Lightning this season, does that have any impact on the playoffs?
Not at all. Montreal dominated the Bruins in the regular season and look what happened there. We're big believers in momentum and confidence. Tampa Bay just beat Pittsburgh and Washington. They're blocking shots at ridiculous rates. They're a different team mentally than the Bruins faced earlier this season. Though we still stand by what we said earlier... if the B's rough up the Lightning, within the rules of the game, we see that as an edge. Look at the series against the Pens. Orpik railed Stamkos early and it took Stamkos a while to find his game. And as good as St. Louis is, he seems to lose his focus the more he gets hit.
8. Both teams lost Game 1 of Round 1, and won Game 1 of Round 2. Does winning Game 1 in the ECF matter?
I think so, especially for the Bruins. Can they win without Bergeron? Yeah but it won't be fun. This Bruins team learned a lot these past few years. They're gritty, they know how to win now and close out teams but getting that first game without Bergeron would be huge, especially if he can come back at some point during the series. Though both Tampa and the B's have shown this postseason that going into an early hole doesn't exactly spell doom for a team.
Predict the series
We're going with Bruins in 6. Boston is well versed in adversity this season and now seem to relish in it. We think Thomas will prevail in the battle of 100 year old goalies and we think Boston's physicality will wear down the Lightning. Plus we fully expect Brad Marchand to make fun of Boucher's scar until he snaps and tries to stab Marchand with a skate, Happy Gilmore style.