Earlier in Mike Babcock’s days as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, they were one of the best teams in the league. The Red Wings reached the Western Conference Final in 2007 and made the Stanley Cup Final in each of the following two years, with them securing a championship in 2008.
A lot has changed since then for the Red Wings as some of the key players from that era like Nicklas Lidstrom have retired and the next generation is establishing itself. So it didn’t come as a shock that Detroit couldn’t match up against Boston in the first round, but it did give Babcock an opportunity to get a close look at the Bruins and he was very impressed with what he saw.
“This [Bruins] team that we played today is like we used to be in ’08, ’09, and ’07,” Babcock said, per CSN New England. “They’re a legit contender with a good depth and good experience. I think it’s just overall depth.”
Boston showed off its offensive depth in the five-game first round series against Detroit. Ten different Bruins found the back of the net and only three Boston players — Johnny Boychuk, Brad Marchand, and Gregory Campbell — played in all five contests without recording a point.
On top of that, goaltender Tuukka Rask played like, well, Tuukka Rask.
“Some teams have got a real good team, and their goalie gets you started, gets the opposition started,” Babcock said. “This [Rask] kid doesn’t get you started. Not only does he stop the puck, he plays the puck good, so it’s harder to get in on their D.”
With so many different factors working for the Bruins, they certainly look like they’re poised to have a long playoff run.
The Boston Bruins finished off one Original Six team and now they’ll prepare to face another, more familiar one in the next round.
The Bruins finished off the Detroit Red Wings with a 4-2 victory in Game 5. Zdeno Chara’s power play goal with four seconds left in the second period put the Bruins ahead to stay. Milan Lucic’s third goal of the series 4:27 into the third period put the game on ice and helped the Bruins advance in five games.
Henrik Zetterberg’s first goal of the series made it 3-2 with 3:52 to play, but a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty 48 seconds later to Detroit helped seal the Red Wings’ fate. Jarome Iginla added an empty-net goal
Tuukka Rask ended the game with 31 saves and proved to frustrate the Red Wings even when Detroit was able to generate sustained offense. In the end, however, it was the lack of a penalty kill that ended the Red Wings.
The Bruins went 2-for-5 on the power play getting goals from Loui Eriksson in the first period and Chara in the second.
Detroit’s first goal came on the power play in the second period when Pavel Datsyuk put a rebound past Rask. Detroit’s best opportunities came with the man-advantage which says a lot about how well the Bruins played throughout the game.
From the get-go, Boston seemed to be in a different gear and a lot of the puck-luck that went against Eriksson in Game 4 was corrected in Game 5.
Boston moves on to the Atlantic Division Final where they’ll face their archrivals — the Montreal Canadiens. It’ll be the 34th time the two have met in the playoffs.
It could be elimination day for the Detroit Red Wings in Boston when they face the Bruins in Game 5.
The Bruins took a commanding 3-1 lead in the series with their overtime win in Game 4. The Red Wings are countering the Bruins with the return of Daniel Alfredsson to the lineup as well as swapping out Jakub Kindl for Xavier Ouellet.
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The Bruins were in this position last year against the Toronto Maple Leafs being up 3-1 and back at home looking to close things out. As Milan Lucic said earlier, they’d like to avoid reliving last season’s fate.
Jonas Gustavsson will have to try and out-duel Tuukka Rask in goal and considering how well Rask has played all season, it would appear the Red Wings are really up against it.
Check out our preview of all of today’s games here.