By Greg Celona - Published on Saturday, April 17, 2014 at 11:16 PM
The Boston Bruins are set to square off against the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Following a year in which the Bruins came just a couple wins shy of their seventh Stanley Cup in franchise history, the team will be entering this post-season looking to prove they’ve still got it.
The key to success for Boston this year has certainly been their consistency. The Bruins went all season without surrendering more than two losses in a row. Not to mention their 12-game win streak that helped push them to win the President’s Trophy with the best record in the NHL.
It’s not very often that the team with the best regular season comes out with the cup, but the Bruins certainly have the potential to make it happen.
The biggest key for Boston in the first round is not to take Detroit too lightly. Sure, the Red Wings are a wild card team, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous.
This might be one of the tougher first round series in the playoffs, especially in the Eastern Conference. Considering the Bruins are 1-3-0 against the Red Wings this season, anything can happen.
The key to stopping the Red Wings will be finding a way to slow down Detroit’s great offensive speed, and Head Coach Claude Julien is preparing for just that.
“Teams have strengths and it’s how you counter those things. I think our team can certainly skate, I don’t think we’re a slow team whether people underrate our skating or now, I don’t know. But we’ve shown that we can skate with these guys but certainly close the gap quick on those guys too.”
Boston will have to rely on some younger skaters to step up in this series in order to maintain long-term success. One player who has showed he’s ready this year is Carl Söderberg. The 28-year-old put up 48 points (16g,32a) through 73 games in his first full NHL season.
Last year, Söderberg joined the team too late in the season to participate in the playoffs. Now that he’s had a full season with the team, Julien expects him to be a good offensive factor.
“He’s had a chance to get used to his linemates. He’s had time to get used to playing our game and everything just has fit in much better for him. This year, we anticipate him being a much better impact player than he was last year just because of that.”
In order for the younger guys to be prepared to step up each game, the more experienced skaters will have to lead them. As Julien mentions, B’s captain Zdeno Chara is the perfect guy for the job.
“He’s a good teacher because he is a good example. You know, how he prepares, how consistent he is throughout the year, all the stuff that comes with it, stuff that goes on in the dressing room whether it’s off ice workouts, all that stuff.”
While the players and coaches prepare to skate for the cup, the city behind them prepares to show their spirit is stronger than ever. This past week marked the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings that shook the people of the city. With the Boston Marathon set to go again on Monday, the city is at an all-time high of emotions.
It may be a tragic event, but it has made the people of Boston stronger than ever. Claude Julien knows how much the teams of Boston mean to everyone. He also understands the strength of the people for whom the B’s play.
“It’s sad what happened but for us, I look at how the city just came together and how everybody helped each other and did everything they could to help one another so that’s what kind of sticks in my mind.”
No matter how far the Bruins go in the playoffs this year, the City of Boston will be behind them 100%.