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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Bruins Playoff Preview

It’s the most wonderful time of year! That’s right; it is playoff time and the Boston Bruins are one of 16 teams that will be looking to win the Stanley Cup this spring. Let’s take a look at the road the Bruins will have to take in order make a run at the cup, and what they need to do to ensure success in the playoffs.

The Bruins will have what is likely the most difficult road to the playoffs this spring. They will start out by playing the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round.

Last season, the Bruins squeaked pass the Maple Leafs in seven games. The Maple Leafs’ main flaw last year was that their defense was a major liability and they relied too much on their star goaltender, Frederik Andersen, and their offense. A prime example of this was in game seven in last year’s meeting, when the Bruins put up a whopping seven goals to advance to the second round. Unfortunately for the Bruins, they ran directly into a brick wall known as the Tampa Bay Lightning and lost in five games.

This season has been more of the same for the Maple Leafs, as they cannot seem to figure it out on the defensive end, but the offseason addition of John Tavares has certainly masked that by scoring 45 goals so far this season. Both the Bruins and the Maple Leafs collectively got better from last year and the expectation is that it will be another hard-fought series.

One of the biggest question marks for the Bruins going into the playoffs is how well Tuukka Rask will play. In last year’s meeting with the Maple Leafs, Rask’s play was awfully shaky, putting up an ugly .899 save percentage while also letting in four goals in a pivotal game seven. This season, the Bruins have a good second option if Rask cannot get the job done in Jaroslav Halak, who has been nothing short of excellent this season.  

Prediction

Ultimately my prediction is that the Bruins will win in six games.

This prediction is contingent on the Bruins having home ice advantage; if the Maple Leafs end up with home ice advantage I ultimately believe that the Maple Leafs will win in seven games. Home ice plays a huge role in every series no matter what sport, and I believe if last year’s game seven was played in Toronto, the Leaf’s would have come out victorious.

Assuming the Bruins maintain home ice advantage, I believe the Bruins top two lines will be too much for the Maple Leafs’ dreadful defense. The Bruins defense is also much more equipped to handle the Maple Leafs’ top lines. The Bruins will surely get a boost on the defensive end if Brandon Carlo can stay healthy, as he has yet to make his playoff debut due to injuries at the end of his first two seasons.

I think this series will come down to goaltending, as both Rask and Andersen are known as goalies who struggle in big games. I honestly do not believe it will come down to which goalie steps up to the plate and steals a game, as much as it will be which goalie struggles the least. I give Rask the edge only because of the defense he has in front of him. This is also where home ice advantage plays a role because having the crowd heckling the opposing goaltender definitely is a factor in that goalie’s confidence. Just look at game seven against the Maple Leafs last year and game seven against them in 2013.

About the Contributor
Jonathan Hopkins, Sports Editor