The Black and Gold Strike Again

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Well, it is certainly Stanley Cup Playoff season as the Boston Bruins skate through another gut wrenching round to defeat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4 games to 2 in a best of seven series.  The Blue Jackets ended up being a formidable opponent for the Bruins after going up 2 games to 1.  The Jackets played a much different series than Toronto, bringing a physical presence to the Bruins that they did not seem ready to defend.

Photo courtesy of yahoosports.com

While Tuukka Rask is the real hero of this series, credit Bruce Cassidy for pulling the trigger on putting David Backes back into the lineup.
 Backes brought leadership, a rejuvenated style of physical hockey and a big goal in Game 6 to secure the series victory.

“Tuukka Time” has reentered the vocabulary of hockey fans throughout New England.  The often inconsistent goaltender has appeared to have found his second wave of greatness this season after having a questionable end to the regular season.  Securing a 3-0 win on Monday night to finish off the Blue Jackets was a perfect way to end the series for Rask.  Tuukka has stood on his head for the Bruins, and we can only hope that this can continue throughout the Eastern Conference Finals.

Shop for official Boston Bruins team fan gear and authentic collectibles at Shop.NHL.com A hot goaltender is the key to almost all Stanley Cup runs in this era of the NHL.  The Blue Jackets’ Sergei Bobrovsky played a wonderful series and successfully stole at least one game from Boston.  A hot Tuukka Rask should be feared by all future opponents,  He has the capability to carry the Bruins to a Stanley Cup.

The disappearance of Boston’s star players was not enough to hold the team back from advancing to the Conference Finals.  This speaks to the importance of running four lines of offense that a coach can count on.  The 2011 championship Bruins ran four lines that were all productive.  This team is beginning to feel like a team that can run four lines safely.  The fact that the Bruins just won a series in which Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Pastrnak were afterthoughts is extremely encouraging.  These three players cannot be quieted for long.  Look for an explosive effort from these guys as the next series opens up in Boston.

So, since the top line struggled throughout the Columbus series, where did the offense come from?  It appears Bruce Cassidy has found some offensive combinations within his lineup that are capable of playing Bruins hockey.  Reinserting David Backes into the lineup cannot be stressed enough as a crucial move.  The Bruins were down a game when Backes came down from the bleachers.  He brought a high level of physical play with enough offensive ability that helped generate pucks on net and goals for the Bruins.

Strong defense will need to continue from the Boston Bruins against the Carolina Hurricanes.  Charlie McAvoy, Brandon Carlo, and Torey Krug have played an essential role in the Bruins’ success throughout the playoffs thus far.  “Big Z” Zdeno Chara has looked slow at times for the Bruins, and his rocket of a shot has not been on target.  Look for the big man to take a few days off and be more effective against Carolina.

The Hurricanes have had a great postseason run as they enter the Eastern Conference Finals.  The “Canes” have four forwards that have produced nine points each throughout the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and who can forget old friend Dougie Hamilton.  Hamilton, often seeming as a disappointment, will come back to Boston looking for revenge on his reputation.

On paper, Carolina might look like the weakest opponent the Bruins have faced in the playoffs.  However, now is not the time for the Bruins to back off.  The Cup now runs through Boston with home ice advantage.  The top teams in the league have fallen victim to opponents like the Carolina Hurricanes during the playoffs.  The Bruins need to continue to play Boston hockey and hit Carolina hard.

The Bruins season has been a wild ride and promises to continue on an interesting path.  The Bruins are beginning to appear as if they have the tools to possibly pull this off.  The Stanley Cup is a unique prize because it truly requires a full team effort front the top of the lineup to the bottom.  There can be no major flaws or liabilities on a roster.  This is not the case in all professional sports.  Carolina cannot be underestimated as the Bruins continue the quest for The Cup.


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Boston Sports Syndicate: The Black and Gold Strike Again
The Black and Gold Strike Again
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