I have to admit I’m not totally looking forward to the Boston Bruins-Philadelphia Flyers second round matchup.
Between Boston’s defensive crouch and Philadelphia’s often overly physical play, I’m concerned there won’t be too much skating or movement.
Also, both teams have pretty bad power plays going right now.
And factor in that the Flyers have to be in Boston’s head after coming back from being down three games to none last year, and I think Boston is going to be even more intent on shutting Philadelphia down, as opposed to scoring goals.
Bruins’ coach Claude Julien used the idea of earning redemption against the Flyers to help motivate his teams past the Canadiens in the first round of the playoffs. But I’m not sure that’s what the Bruins really want. I think in a lot of ways, they’d be more than happy to not have to deal with Philadelphia in the playoffs.
I’m still surprised no one claimed Flyers’ goalie Michael Leighton, if for no other reason then to disrupt the Flyers goaltending plans a bit. Leighton was horrible in his one first round appearance, but his implosion is what forced goalie Brian Boucher to settle his own nerves and win games. Without Leighton as an alternative to Boucher, I’m not sure Philadephia coach Peter Laviolette would have been able to sit Boucher.
About the only thing I’m looking forward to is Chris Pronger. He’s a mean player. He seems to be a mean person. But he’s a great player. And as his injured hand improves, so does his play.
Obviously, Boston defenseman Zdeno Chara has size on Pronger, as Chara has size on everyone who isn’t part of an NBA front court, but Pronger can be downright shifty in the offensive zone, especially given his own size. He’s great to watch in both ends.
Last year, the Flyers often felt like a playoff team that couldn’t be stopped, Chicago Blackhawks excluded.
One round into the playoffs, and once again winning in spite of serious goaltending issues, the Flyers have that unstoppable vibe once again. And this time, there are no Blackhawks around to stop them.
The Bruins have to be a little concerned.
Also, perhaps the most obvious idea ever to be expressed in a headline: “Crosby, Malkin sorely missed by Penguins.”