It’s not often that after teams claim the No. 1 seed in their conference they have to play a very tough team in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. However, that’s what the Boston Bruins, who were the best team in the NHL during the regular season, got this season. They drew the Detroit Red Wings who are playing in the playoffs in the Eastern Conference for the first time ever.
Even though the Red Wings were only good enough for the second wild card berth in the conference, they are going to be a tough out in the first round as they’ve shown so far. After downing the Bruins 1-0 in Game 1, the Red Wings were riding high. However, the Bruins answered that by dominating Game 2, winning 4-1. While the Bruins established their dominance in Game 2, the Red Wings still made it clear they aren’t going away in this series.
Going back to Detroit, the underdog Red Wings don’t have the pressure of already being down in a 2-0 hole. They can play more relaxed, which should benefit them in the long run. Today made it evident that the Bruins were the far deeper team, probably the deepest team in the NHL, but the Red Wings made it clear in Game 1 that they were willing to sit back and play defense and hope for a late goal.
That strategy didn’t work today, but it could steal the Red Wings a couple more games in the series. Now that the series is back to even, the Bruins still have the upper hand, but the Red Wings are clearly going to make things a lot harder on Boston than the Bruins would have hoped.