Detroit Red Wings v Boston Bruins playoff preview
Detroit Red Wings v Boston Bruins playoff preview
The Bruins are everything you can ask for in a Hockey franchise. They have a great history, great fans and this year they have a sparkling record of 117 points. They have the best record in all of the NHL and as a result they won the President's trophy. The dreaded President's trophy. The President's trophy is considered such a curse, the predominant custom now a days is for a team to refuse acceptance of the trophy. The first President's trophy was given out in 1986 and since that time only eight President Trophy winners have gone on to win the Stanley Cup.
That aside, this year's version of the Bruins is a great team, fresh of their Stanley Cup Finals appearance from last season, they have dominated in most categories throughout the year. Their offense is third in the NHL in goals per game (3.2), they are third in the NHL in power play percentage (20.9) and they are second in the NHL in goals allowed per game (2.1). Success in that category is a result of great defensive play and riding their goalie Tuuka Rask. Rask leads the NHL in shutouts this season with seven. Rask also has 35 wins in 57 games. In fact Boston's goalie position is so solid, backup goalie Chad Johnson has the skill to start on most teams. He has 17 wins in 26 starts with a 2.07 G.A.A. (Goals against average.) Boston's only somewhat weak point is their penalty kill, in which they are "only" ranked eighth in the NHL. (83.8)
Their top of the line offense has five players who have 20 goals or more this year. They are led by Jarome Iginla, who has had a hall-of-fame career with the Calgary Flames. Frustrated by where Calgary was going, he ended up going to Pittsburg last year and this year is his first season in Boston. Although he has had a hall-of-fame career, he has never won a Stanley Cup and will be hungry going into the playoffs. The Bruins also have great scorers in Patrice Bereron, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Reilly Smith. Smith is the fifth option to score on this team, but would probably be the number one scorer on most NHL teams. Their offense is run by their center, David Krejci. Krejci has 50 assists this year and a plus/minus of 39, which leads the NHL.
With all that said, the Bruins are prime for an upset. They will be playing the Detroit Red Wings and although the Red Wings will be the sports betting underdogs, they will have a great shot an upset. Lately the Red Wings have had Bostons' number, winning three out of four regular season matchups. One of their three wins includes a 6 to 1 drubbing on November 27th in the Joe Louis arena. If this series goes the full seven games, three of the games will be in Detroit. The Bruins have not won a game in Detroit since March of 2007, kind of scary. The main key for the Red Wings is their health. When Pavel Datsyuk is healthy, he can take over a series for the Red Wings. Henrik Zatterberg recently had back surgery, but he could be huge in this series. In his career, Zatterberg has averaged .5 goals per game higher against the Bruins than his goal scoring averages against the rest of the NHL. He also has 14 points in 16 lifetime games against Boston.
The Red Wings also have a ton of playoff experience on their roster. Niklas Kronwall, Todd Bertuzzi, Johan Franzen, Drew Miller, Dan Cleary are just a few Red Wings who know what chasing the Stanley Cup is all about. Red Wings' goalie Jimmy Howard is not going to win the Vezina (award for best goalie) this year, but he is a respectable goalie. He has two shutouts this season and has a 2.66 G.A.A. (goals against average). The key to the playoffs is riding a hot goalie. Can Howard get hot is the question. The Red Wings have the regular season stats of a team who has just over 90 points for the year. They are 16th in the NHL in goals per game (2.6). They are 17th in the league in goals against (2.7). They are 15th overall with their power play percentage (18.0) and they are 11th in the league with their penalty kill (82.9). But again, that was the regular season. The playoffs are a whole another animal.
The Red Wings have a good coach in Mike Babcock. If they can ride their top goal scorer Gustav Nyquist and their two top point men, Niklas Kronwall and Daniel Alfresdsson, they will have a solid chance at the upset. Upsets in the first round are common in NHL and this series has a good chance at seeing the betting favorite lose.
* Betting lines mentioned in this article are subject to change due to time sensitivity. Please visit the sports betting lines for up to date odds.
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