Last night the Bruins played Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinal series against their archrivals, the Habs. Playing in Montreal and going into the game down 2-1 in the series, this was a huge game. If they had lost and gone down 3-1 in the series, many would’ve said they would lose the series. However, they played well and got the win, tying up the series at 2-2 and basically making it a new 3-game series with home advantage for the Bruins.
From what I’ve been hearing from Habs fans on sports radio and online, they felt like if the Bruins won Game 4, it would likely mean that they would win the series. Granted, in the NHL, and especially with these two teams, you can never be sure as anything can happen. Still, I have to agree with the Habs fans that feel that way. One reason is the obvious one: the Bruins now have to win two more games and two of the next three will be in Boston. The main reason, though, is because they started to get back to their true game.
The Bruins that we know and love, the team that finished the regular season at the top of the league, has still yet to show up in this series. However, they did start to get back to their way of playing last night. While there are still a number of players not producing to their potential, they’re getting closer. They also started to get back to the physical game that they usually play. In Game 3, they were so afraid of getting penalties that their play could only be described as polite. Now they were right to worry as the Habs always get penalties called on their opponents, especially in Montreal, but they just went too far in being careful. Meanwhile, the Habs were still hitting, and there were some pretty big ones too that were borderline penalties (but not called). In Game 4, they realized the refs were letting them play and they could be more physical.. So they were.
When the Bruins are hitting and being physical they are more effective, especially against the Habs. Now they are pretty much back to playing the game we all know and which got them were they are. With this very important win, they also have the momentum. What’s more, the next game (and Game 7 if there is one) will be in Boston. These are all reasons why I give Bruins the edge in this series.
On top of all of that, they are also getting closer and closer to scoring as much as they had been. They are making smarter plays and have hit the goal post probably 10 times at this point. They’ve been getting bad bounces, but it always evens out in the end. Furthermore, the players that they’ve been calling up from the AHL to fill in for injured guys have been performing and contributing. Last night was the prime example. The Bruins played a solid game and controlled the tempo, getting many good scoring chances. Still, the game could not be decided in regulation. It went to overtime tied 0-0. Well about a minute into overtime, the third line (who was the best in this game) got the puck to the net, then Matt Fraser (called up for this game) knocked in the loose puck for the game-winning goal! An unlikely hero, yet still not entirely unbelievable.. He had been playing very well in the AHL playoffs, plus, the Bruins organization is very good at choosing and developing players.
Lastly, I have to mention the Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask. Like the team, he had not been himself in this series. Last night, though, he played like we know and expect he can. He earned his fifth career NHL playoff shutout (second of this year), stopping all 33 shots against him. He also led the league in the regular season with seven shutouts. Even after being shaky in the first three games of this series, he still leads the playoffs in all major goalie statistics.. He has a 1.67 Goals Against Average and a .941 Save Percentage. He is the front-runner to win the Vezina Trophy this year and I absolutely think he should. Now they he’s getting back to his game, the Bruins and their fans should feel a lot more confident going forward.
So what does this all mean? Highlighted be the previous two paragraphs, everything I’ve said means that the Bruins have a great chance of winning this series. Still, as I said, the NHL playoffs (especially when these two teams face each other) are probably the most unpredictable of all sports. They will have to play their game and play it well. I just think it looks a lot more likely that they’ll do that after last night’s solid game and win.
I want to mention something again to anyone who reads/follows this blog or who cares about/checks up on Boston sports.. Since I don’t have as much time these days to write blog posts, I tend to write short posts on our Facebook page, typically after each game. I also share links to all sorts of sports-related stories. Unfortunately, it’s hard to see those posts from here (they show up on the right side and bottom of the blog). So, to fully keep up with every little Boston sports story, please check our Facebook page too!
In case you’re too cool for the mid-sentence links above, here’s the address for our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/b0stonwins
Now get pumped for what promises to be an epic, stressful, and exciting final few games of this series with these videos:
Game 4 Highlights:
Some Slow-mo Highlights:
Bruins/Habs Rivalry videos:
Bruins/Habs 2014 Playoffs Pump Up:
Bruins/Habs 2011 Playoffs Pump Up:
This was made in for the 2011 playoffs, but it’s still great.
Bruins 2014 Playoffs Promo:
This one isn’t Bruins/Habs specific, it’s an overall Bruins playoffs promo, but there are some great clips involving the two teams. This one pumps me up more than any other.
Bruins/Habs Rivalry Videos:
Now see just how crazy, passionate, and how far back this rivalry goes with these videos. The first two are “top 10 Bruins/Habs moments” videos with overlap, but not completely. The other ones are montages of rivalry clips..
Top 10 Memorable Moments – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsKvwG0rT6I
Top 10 Moments – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoXAhnjKdg0
“34 Year War” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0R_cBY1hn0
“The Rivalry” (mostly for Habs fans) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ajZIILhpU1g
Greatest Rivalry – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXhDO46mwwo
Bruins/Habs Bench-clearing Brawl (11/8/70) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFHRb8GxWB0
General Bruins promo videos:
“The Calm” – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GlRCPDnP-5I
Bruins Godzilla Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ90_swuyuc
Top 10 Milan Lucic Fights – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KthQD9W1Pnw
So get psyched for the rest of this series, get your beers and antacids ready, and remember Bruins fans..
Thanks for reading,