1st Round Playoff Battle: Boston Bruins (2) vs. Washington Capitals (7)
The reigning Stanley Cup Champions the Boston Bruins face their first test in their quest to repeat as Cup Champions, when they face off against the Washington Capitals on Thursday.
This season Washington won the regular season series 3-1, while out scoring Boston 13-12.
The Cup champs bring a ton of grit up front, with tenacity, and the ability to produce from all four lines. The most dangerous line Washington will have to contend with is the Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – Tyler Seguin line that combined for a plus-101 this season.
The Ovechkin line will most likely to face off the Bruins first line; this is the prime match for this series that everyone should be look forward to. This potentially leaves Washington to heavily rely on their second line of Jason Chimera – Nicklas Backstrom – Alexander Semin.
In the end, as offensively gifted Washington is, the grit of Boston will wear down Washington’s forwards.
I personally like Washington’s top four defensman of Mike Green, Dennis Wideman, John Carlson and Karl Alzner, as there is a good mix of offensive and defensive defensman. Though with an injury plague season for Green and low production from him (7 points in 32 games), I do not expect much from Green. On the other side of the ice, the Bruins veteran defensman are consistently able to log big minutes in games. Though Johnny Boychuk (knee) and Adam McQuaid (head) are questionable to start game one, as both are battling injuries.
Tim Thomas’s regular season and post-season performance speaks for itself. While Washington’s trio of goalies, (Tomas Vokoun, Michal Neuvirth or Braden Holtby) two of which are injured. I am seeing the goalie position being the down fall for the Capitals, even though Holtby is their most promising goalie, if Vokoun out, the Capitals will lose.
As for special teams, Boston sits in 15th in power play percentage at 17.2%. While Washington sits just three spots below in 18th at 16.7%. As for the penalty kill, Boston is 11th at 83.5% and Washington is in the bottom third of the league (21st) at 81.6%. Numbers do not lie in my opinion, even though anything can happen in the playoff, Boston has the edge in special teams.
The two key players in this series is Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin and Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. Both first line players who I expect to see a lot of minutes throughout the series, but at the same time.
In the end I believe the Bruins will continue their pursuit for another cup and defeat the Capitals in 6 games. The Capitals are coming into the playoffs playing some great hockey. Washington will indeed give Boston a run for their money, but I am confident that the big bad Bruins will win.
April 12: Washington at Boston, 7:30 p.m.
April 14: Washington at Boston, 3 p.m.
April 16: Boston at Washington, 7 p.m.
April 19: Boston at Washington, 7 p.m.
April 21: Washington at Boston, 3 p.m.
April 22: Boston at Washington, TBA
April 25: Washington at Boston, TBA
Rant Sports Toronto Maple Leafs Feature Writer
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