2014 NHL Playoffs: 5 Ways the Boston Bruins Can Guarantee a First-Round Win

5 Ways the Boston Bruins Can Guarantee a First-Round Win

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The Boston Bruins ended the regular season with the best record in the Eastern Conference, but their first-round matchup didn't really reward them. The Detroit Red Wings are a very dangerous team and will be hungry for an upset. Here are five ways the Bruins can guarantee themselves a first-round victory.

5. Stay 5-on-5

Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins
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5. Stay 5-on-5

Buffalo Sabres v Boston Bruins
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One of the most underrated statistics in the NHL is 5-on-5 goals for/against ratio. The Bruins are statistically the best team in the NHL when playing 5-on-5, and if they can keep it that way against the Red Wings, they'll be able to advance.

4. Shut Down the Red Wings' Superstars

Detroit Red Wings v St. Louis Blues
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4. Shut Down the Red Wings' Superstars

Detroit Red Wings v St. Louis Blues
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The Red Wings are not a No. 8 seed when it comes to their talent pool. They had numerous injuries to their best players all year, and it's unfortunate the Bruins have to face such a talented team after earning the best record in the Eastern Conference. Even without Henrik Zetterberg, The Red Wings have plenty of offensive weapons who will need to be shut down.

3. Utilize Their Depth

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3. Utilize Their Depth

Boston Bruins v New Jersey Devils
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The Bruins are arguably the deepest team in the NHL, and if they can continue to rotate all four lines on a consistent basis, it's difficult to imagine the Red Wings will be able to keep up with them. All four forward lines can produce, which is crucial in playoff hockey.

2. Challenge Jimmy Howard

Buffalo Sabres v Detroit Red Wings
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2. Challenge Jimmy Howard

Buffalo Sabres v Detroit Red Wings
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The Bruins averaged over 30 shots per game during the regular season and will need to be right around that number in the postseason if they want to be successful. Jimmy Howard has yet to prove his worth in the playoffs, and the Bruins should be able to exploit his inexperience if they continue to throw pucks on net from every angle.

1. Play Physical

Boston Bruins v Minnesota Wild
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1. Play Physical

Boston Bruins v Minnesota Wild
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If there is one thing the Red Wings don't like to do, it's attempt to match up physically. Mike Babcock has always organized a puck control offense and it falters when opposing teams step up their physicality. If Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand can be pests, the Bruins will be able to get by Detroit.

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