Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bring on Pittsburgh!

What seemed unlikely has now come true. Who should Bruins fans be hoping to see in round two of the playoffs?....

The Bruins have really surprised everyone. In March, after the Penguins' Matt Cooke took out Bruins' star-playmaker, Marc Savard, the B's looked like a group beyond hope. Their best player was taken down on a cheap shot and they just stood by and did nothing - they couldn't even win the game for him. Their fight was gone. When the Penguins strolled into Boston the next week, it was only Shawn Thornton that took revenge on Cooke - and only once. The Bruins went on to lose that game 3-0 and continued to turn in disappointing performances. After a loss to the Florida Panthers just two weeks later, Bruins' right-winger, Mark Recchi, called out his teammates' effort saying, "I still don't think we had 20 guys tonight". The nail was in the coffin. Talk radio hosts were already looking to next year. No one expected what came next. A surge of energy, rhythm and urgency which began with a 4/5 run to close the regular season and has now lifted the Bruins to round two of the playoffs.

After that deflating loss to the Penguins it was questionable whether they would even make the playoffs. If they did, most had them picked to be out in round one. What seemed so unlikely just a month ago is now a reality. After finishing a dramatic first round series against the Sabres, the Bruins have advanced to the second round. There they face the possibility of a rematch with the Penguins - the team that, after that devastating loss, most thought the Bruins wouldn't be seeing until next season. To make things even more interesting, Marc Savard will be back for round two, surely ready for revenge.

Of course; facing the Penguins, though most likely, is not a certainty. So, who should Bruins fans hope to face next?

The argument is fair on either side. If the Canadiens get an unlikely win over the top-seeded Capitals, the Bruins would face the Philadelphia Flyers with home-ice advantage. This would be the most ideal scenario for Bruins fans who'd like the greatest chance to make it to the Finals. Many may remember Boston's dramatic 2-1 overtime victory over the Flyers at the Winter Classic. This year, the Bruins were 2-1-1 against Philly and outscored them, 11-7. This match-up is definitely the most favorable and gives Boston the best chance to advance. On the flip-side, Pittsburgh fans are saying the same thing about Boston.

The Bruins have not been terribly successful against the Penguins this year, holding a measly 1-2-1 record. Those two losses being the extremely devastating ones talked about earlier. However, Boston appears to be a team that is re-vitalized and the opportunity for revenge cannot be ignored. Especially with Savard back on the ice. It's clear what Bruins fans want, as they were chanting, "We want Cooke!" during Game 6 against the Sabres. It's very likely that both fan-bases will get what they're asking for.

Personally, I think that sort of intensity would be best saved for the conference finals and also after Marc Savard has been on the ice for a little longer. However, despite how things went in the regular season, there's no guaranteeing that the Bruins would get past the Flyers. If the Pittsburgh series has to happen now - so be it. The Bruins inspired play of late has shown that they will be ready this time. Matt Cooke should be on his guard.

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1 comment:

  1. No where to run and no where to hide Mr. Cooke. Karma's gonna get you. I can't stomach Montreal winning anything so GO CAPS!