By Dan Libon
Before we begin our look at the Boston Bruins, let us start with a little history lesson.
Back in 2002, the Bruins had all the talent in the world to make a run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Who can forget the memories given to us by a team that was led by Joe Thornton, Jason Allison, Sergi Samsonov, Bill Geruin, Glen Murray and “Lord” Byron Dafoe?
Oh wait, there are no memories, except what happened in the first round of the playoffs against the Montreal Canadians, right?
If your wondering what this has to do with the Bruins of today, don’t worry, the point is coming up soon, so hang on tight.
In Game 4 of their series against the Habs, (stop me if this sounds familiar), Bruins defenseman Kyle McLaren knocked out Richard Zednik with a vicious elbow towards the end of the game. Yet, despite their 6-2 win to tie the series at 2-2, the Canadians rallied around their fallen teammate to win the next two games and eliminate the top seed of the Eastern Conference .
Flash forward to 2011 and well, Nathan Horton goes down and his teammates have begun to rally around him, but does anyone think that the Bruins, like the Canadiens of ‘02 are winning because he got elbowed out of the series? No!
As much as the Bruins have improved and made the right plays, the Vancouver Canucks aren’t doing anything to stop them because the bottom line is that they’re like the St. Louis Rams from Super Bowl XXXVI , (they have a boatload of talent). If the Canucks wake up and play their best hockey, which they can, they’ll win the series. However, Vancouver is a team that has refused to play hockey unless it’s a one-goal game. Get a two or three goal lead on them and yes, they’ll shut down.
Horton’s injury is forcing Boston players to step up. Rich Peverly’s aim was better on Wednesday, as he scored two goals. He’s always had the speed to create marvelous plays and he certainly stepped up.
Michael Ryder is another person who has stepped up too. He came to Boston during the ‘08-‘09 season and was expected to be a goal scorer. Although against the Canucks in Game 4, he also stepped up.
Going back to Vancouver, the Bruins need to play the exact same way as they did in Game 5. They need to continue their physical play and make sure the Sedin twins are uncomfortable. If they do that, Boston will win.
Get ready, the real Finals are about to begin, so make sure you’re glued to a television on Friday.