The regular season has come to an end and the Bruins are now facing the first round of the playoffs. With the Ottawa Senators doing everything in their power to not play Boston, they provided the Bruins with the Washington Capitals for the first seven game match-up. Now, this match-up can go one of two ways. (obviously) The Bruins can continue to carry their momentum they have had at the tail end of the season and blow through the first round like it is nothing, or this five-day break could throw them off balance and hurt them in the long run.
While the month of October provided the Bruins with the infamous “Cup Hangover,” it was also coming off of a long, tedious break from on-ice action. Granted the team works out in the off-season as much if not more than they do during the regular season, but the lack of competition and team togetherness has to have some sort of effect. Take a look at how strong the Bruins became after their pre-season over seas in 2010. They were able to bond together and build chemistry off the ice that was able to be carried over into games.
Granted, this year provided the Bruins with a lot more injuries than last year, at one point with up to six roster players sitting out at one time. While there are still a couple of players out heading into the playoffs, they are both listed as day-to-day and expected to be 100% ready to go by Thursday. A nice, healthy, ripe and ready to go team for the playoffs would provide the Bruins with a positive advantage heading into the first round.
Taking a look at how the Bruins performed against Washington this year provides fans with little confidence as they went 1-2-1 in the regular season.
“They’re a team I think defensively that has really tightened up their game,” Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien said about the Capitals earlier this year. “We see them doing what most teams do around the league now, collapsing and overloading the one side of the ice in the D zone and certainly that structure is there. We know they’re a good offensive team… and that’s been their strength for years.”(via Bruins Official Site)
With names like Alex Ovechkin ans Brooks Laich, the Capitals are definitely a force to be reckoned with. However, when it comes to playoffs, the Capitals seem to crack under pressure. It is a wonder if the change in coaching staff will play a major role in the playoffs, after the firing of Boudreau. They have been a team that when they’ve needed to perform this year, they have been able to capitalize, of course being led by Ovechkin. With Nicklas Backstrom being back, they are better than ever. It makes them a much different team with a greater dynamic. It is going to come down to a battle between confidence. How much confidence do the Capitals bring to the table. If the Bruins come out strong and take the lead early, it may just be enough to rattle the Capitals.
With the depth scoring of the Bruins, the defensive pairings and stellar offense, it is definitely possible that the Bruins can take round one,providing they show up with confidence and their momentum carries over. It may take all seven games to do so, but it can and will be done. Why? Because it’s the Cup.
The first game is Thursday, April 12 at 7:30pm EST being broadcast on NBCSN and 98.5 the Sports Hub.
To check out what the Washington Capitals writer has to say, go to VC Chillin.