Monday, April 9, 2012

Bruins & Capitals Playoff Preview

#2 Boston Bruins v. #7 Washington Capitals

The Boston Bruins begin their quest to repeat as Stanley Cup champions when they take on the under-achieving Washington Capitals.  Many predict Boston to end this series quickly, but the Bruins seem to have lost their swagger from earlier this year, while the Capitals are always tough at home.

Boston is a little banged up on their back end with Johnny Boychuk and Adam McQuaid nursing injuries, and Tim Thomas does not appear to be the same goalie he was last year.  Having said that, the Bruins are still a very deep team with a big, mean defense, a well-balanced offense and one of the best goalies in the game. 

The Washington Capitals came out of the gate going 7-0 but soon stumbled and were unable to claim a division title in a very weak division.  Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Green have all underachieved, missed long stretches of the season due to injury or both.  The optimist would suggest that the Capitals are finally healthy and could challenge the Bruins and make it a series, but the Capitals are in tough if they have to go with Holtby as their goaltender instead of Neuvirth or Vokoun.  Holtby will be good, but it’s a lot to ask to take on the Stanley Cup champions.

Washington will be better than people expect, but the road to the cup will not be easy for them.  Meanwhile, similar questions exist in Boston.  

PuckWatch Hat-trick:
·         Chara & Bruins defense will make Ovechkin’s life miserable
·         Backstrom & Green could be difference makers if Caps challenge
·         Thomas will out-duel Holtby/Neuvirth/Vokoun 

Top Scorers to Draft
WAS – Alex Ovechkin
WAS – Nicklas Backstrom
WAS – Mike Green
BOS – Patrice Bergeron
BOS – Milan Lucic
BOS – Tyler Seguin

Series Prediction
They may not win the cup again this year, but they still should be more than the Capitals can handle.  Bruins in 6.

Other Playoff Previews
Western Conference

Eastern Conference

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