Summer hasn’t even officially started yet but it feels like it has been months since the Bruins last played a game at TD Garden. They just missed out on the playoffs and scattered around the world for the longer than expected offseason, so it has been a quiet couple weeks on Causeway Street. Who knows how much of the postseason that they are watching but for the Bruins (and Boston’s in flux front office) that have tuned in, here are some things they have probably noted: they need a top goal-scorer, as always goaltending wins and the dominant teams out West (Chicago and Anaheim) look like the class of the league.
Boston’s fans have to be loving the fact that Montreal dropped its first two games of the Eastern Conference semifinal series at the Bell Centre vs. Tampa Bay. The Canadiens face a must-win on Wednesday (7, USA) at Amalie Arena. The Lightning won 2-1 in double overtime in Game 1 then embarrassed Montreal 6-2 in Game 2 on Saturday. For all of Boston’s recent struggles vs. Montreal, Tampa Bay is the exact opposite as they are 7-0-0 against the Canadiens this season. Ben Bishop (6-3, 1.71 goals against average, .933 save percentage, 1 shutout) has never won a playoff series before but right now, he’s outplaying Montreal’s star goaltender Carey Price (4-4, 2.34 goals against average, .922 save percentage, 1 shutout).
The Capitals and Rangers have been more evenly matched through three games with Washington on top 2-1 after a thrilling 1-0 victory in Game 3 on Monday. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby (5-4, 1.54 goals against average, .949 save percentage) has been outstanding while Washington has gotten plenty of contributions from its depth players, like forward Jay Beagle who scored the game-winning goal in Game 3. Boston still has Tuukka Rask and plenty of solid role players but obviously they have nothing that resembles Capitals star forward Alexander Ovechkin (4 goals, 4 assists).
Likewise, the amount of high level players out West is staggering. Anaheim’s Corey Perry leads the league with 13 points (5 goals, 8 assists) this postseason while linemate Ryan Getzlaf has added 10 points (2 goals, 8 assists). Like the Canadiens, the Flames face a must-win on Tuesday (9:30, USA) at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary upset Vancouver in the first round but they have looked overmatched in the first two games vs. Anaheim, a 6-1 blowout loss in Game 1 and 3-0 shutout in Game 2. Minnesota similarly faces a 2-0 series hole with Game 3 on Tuesday (8, NBCSN) at Xcel Energy Center vs. Chicago. The B’s surely get painful memories of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final loss to Chicago whenever they see the Blackhawks since most of the that same nucleus-Patrick Kane (5 goals, 5 assists), Duncan Keith (2 goals, 8 assists) and Jonathan Toews (4 goals, 5 assists) are still tearing it up.