With a 4-2 win Saturday, the Boston Bruins have ousted the Detroit Red Wings and are off to the second round where they’ll take on the Montreal Canadiens.
The Red Wings battled. They gave their best against the superbly constructed, more talented, more playoff-tested, deeper opposition in Black and Gold.
Did the Wings really stand a chance? Nope. Did you think Henrik Zetterberg, fresh off back surgery, was going to swoop in and turn the series? Did you think Jonas Gustavsson was going to put the Winged Wheel on his back and topple the brown bear? Perhaps in the Disney version, but not in reality against the most dominant team in the Eastern Conference. Despite the Red Wings still being the Red Wings, this matchup featured seeds 1 vs. 8. And that’s how the series felt.
For the fleeting stretches in which the Red Wings carried the play, execution had to be perfect and engines were in fifth gear. The Bruins, at cruising speed, were the far superior team.
For the handful of former Grand Rapids Griffins getting their first taste of primetime Stanley Cup playoff pressure, this was a necessary learning curve. The Wings will be back next year, likely as a higher seed. As is usually the case, a team full of kids needs to lose before they can win.
As for the Bruins, they get out of the first round in five games compared to Montreal’s four. Boston is fairly healthy, with Daniel Paille and Chris Kelly on the mend and probable for the second round.
The Bruins and Habs last met in the playoffs in the 2011 quarterfinals. The Canadiens held a 2-0 lead in that series but the Bruins came back to win the series and the Stanley Cup.
Montreal won this year’s season series 3-1.