I’ve been watching the Boston-Washington sequence with nice curiosity. Earlier than the playoffs started, I alluded to the truth that I hoped they’d pound the daylights out of one another in an extended, punishing seven-game set.
To date, I’m getting my want. Every of the three video games have gone to extra time. Final evening’s contest went to double-overtime. The Bruins gained, partially, as a result of miscommunication on the game-winner between Capitals d-man (and ex-Pen) Justin Schultz and goalie Ilya Samsonov. However I digress.
It’s been an extraordinarily bodily sequence. The bitter rivals have mixed for 275 hits over three video games. Final evening’s affair was downright vicious. The Bruins, specifically, appeared intent on taking a bit of the Caps at each flip, and never in a mild approach. We’re talkin’ seek-and-destroy, hit-to-hurt kind checks.
Smash-mouth hockey at its greatest (or worst).
As rugged because the Caps are, and let’s face it, any workforce that boasts Tom Wilson, Brenden Dillon, Garnet Hathaway and Zdeno Chara can inflict some ache, my sense is they’d for essentially the most half play all the way down to the Penguins’ degree of physicality.
Not Boston. The place the Caps depend on a handful of men to do their soiled work, it appears everybody within the Bruins’ lineup employs a bodily model. With fire-starter Brad Marchand main the way in which, I don’t assume they’d go simple on our Pens. Simply the other, in truth.
A fast evaluation of regular-season hit totals appear to bear that out. Over our final 5 video games towards Washington, the Caps averaged 29 hits. Over the past 5 with Boston, the Bruins averaged 38.
That’s why I’m pulling for Alex Ovechkin and the Caps. (The playoffs make for unusual bedfellows.) I need no a part of the Bruins.
Why am I making such a giant deal about this? Expert, quick and deep as we’re, I’m fearful about our skill to bodily stand up to one spherical of playoff-style hockey, not to mention 4. Watching Jake Guentzel take a beating in Sport 2 despatched chills down my backbone. And the Islanders aren’t an particularly nasty workforce. They simply end their checks as a matter after all.
The Bruins however are chippy, edgy and imply.
I’m not alone in voicing my concern. In a commentary on the Tribune Assessment, Mark Madden suggests the Pens are ill-equipped for playoff hockey. Shelly Anderson on Pittsburgh Hockey Now additionally famous the punishment Guentzel’s absorbed and raised the problem with coach Mike Sullivan.
As he’s wont to do, “Sully” downplayed the notion that the Pens is perhaps in over their collective heads, bodily, whereas expressing his admiration for the way in which Guentzel performs by way of the abuse. If he’s involved about Jake getting harm, he stored it to himself.
Not that we’d anticipate something completely different. Simply play.
Again to my authentic level. Are the Pens constructed to endure the trials of postseason play?
I’d prefer to say sure. However at this stage, the jury’s nonetheless out.
*You’ll want to try Rick Bukers books,
obtainable at TriumphBooks.com,