It’s finally here. If you could sum up my emotional state, this would be it:
Now, let’s actually break down the action. It looks highly unlikely that Henrik Zetterberg and Jonathan Ericsson will play in the first round, which is the good news. The bad news is that Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly will likely miss the playoff opener. You’ll notice in the same article that Andrej Meszaros is likely to get the call tonight, because the B’s think that Matt Bartkowski is either sick or just bad.
Anyone who says that these injuries aren’t concerns is lying. Remember, this isn’t 2011, where the Bruins had one too many forwards, and they could fill in Tyler Seguin whenever a forward went down. That’s pretty good as far as a 13th forward goes, but their 13th man this year is Jordan “How was I a first round pick???” Caron. If there was anyone that the B’s could lose from the 3rd line, it would be Kelly, because Soderberg and Eriksson are so valuable. But now, one of the best 3rd lines in the league has lost a really good defensive player, and having both Eriksson and Kelly on his wings is big for Soderberg, who isn’t a great defender yet on North American ice. Now, Soderberg will be flanked by a guy with 4 games experience.
While the 3rd line could most stand to lose Kelly, the 4th line could least stand to lose Paille. Gregory Campbell is ok, Shawn Thornton is just plain bad, despite being above average at every part of hockey that does not involve skating (which means he’s really, really terrible at skating). It seems like the 4th line is only alright because of the chemistry that they have together, which is pretty evident when you watch a B’s game, but now that’s gone. It helps that the only somewhat ok part of Caron’s game is defense, especially PK, but he still takes way too many penalties and couldn’t score with a $5 hooker. Just remember this when you hear someone talk about the Bruins’ “depth” for no reason whatsoever tonight.
I don’t think Matt Bartkowski is that bad, and I’d like to see how he does in the lineup at some point. Kevan Miller has played a lot better since the B’s 12 game winning streak started in early March, which is why I’m ok with putting him in the lineup over Bart, assuming Bart was healthy. Like most people, I’d probably sit Meszaros, but I’m excited to see what he can do tonight.
The B’s lineup will probably be:
Meszaros-Miller (God help us). The B’s may also put Boychuk with Mez, and they could also put Chara and Boychuk together for multiple shifts to create a shutdown pair.
For the Wings, they boast a lineup of
Jurco-Helm-Alfredsson (Damn good 3rd line)
Drew Miller-Luke Glendening-David Legwand
Kronwall-Reilly’s evil brother
Jakub Kindl-Brian Lashoff.
That’s nice, but here’s all the analysis you need to know that the B’s will probably win the series. They have 2 first lines, the best defenseman in the league to go along with a pretty good no. 2 Dman, and the best goalie in the league.
And this is how the playoffs started last year. Let’s do this.