BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins are red-hot, winners of 10 straight, and can become the first team to clinch a playoff spot with a win on Friday.
If the Bruins beat the Avalanche and the New York Rangers lose in any fashion, or the Bruins pick up a point and the Rangers lose in regulation, their ticket will be punched for another postseason.
Some people are trying to say Boston’s current 10-game win streak isn’t all that impressive, given the opponents they’ve faced. Others are worried about the team “peaking too early.”
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Bruins play-by-play man Dave Goucher finds those statements comical.
“I don’t put any credence into it at all,” Goucher told Toucher & Rich on Friday. “If you look at the teams they’ve beaten in the stretch, they beat Tampa, who is a playoff team and has won five in a row. They beat Washington, who is desperate for a playoff spot, Phoenix who is in the playoffs out West right now, Minnesota who is in the playoffs in the West.”
“If anything, and it’s a point Bob Beers brought up, these games for the opponents they’re playing are a hell of a lot more important for them than they are the Bruins,” he said. “So I think it’s been even more impressive, and it’s a good thing for them that they’re playing teams trying to get into the playoffs or that are in the playoffs.”
The conversation shifted to the play of third-line center Carl Soderberg, who has 40 points (12 goals, 28 assists) so far in his first full season in Boston. Goucher said the Bruins could still get more out of the Swedish star, but he’s looked much better than when he first came to Boston last April.
“They hope they get more from him, but he’s been real good. Compared to what he was last year — that was a tough spot for him to be in,” said Goucher. “He comes over here, new team, new system, new style of play. Everything was brand new to him, and oh by the way, the playoffs started two or three weeks (later). It was a hard spot for him to be in, and I also don’t think he was in great shape. His team in Sweden had been knocked out and he hadn’t played in about a week and a half.”
“The other thing last year were they were putting him on the wing, and it was a tough adjustment for him,” noted Goucher. “I think there’s more that they can get from him, but he’s so much more comfortable this year.”
Soderberg’s emergence, along with the strong play from his linemates Chris Kelly and Loui Eriksson, could help Boston in an area that hurt them last postseason.
“Last year that third line was in a constant state of flux; they never got set and it caught up with them in the playoffs,” said Goucher. “Hopefully that is something they can negate this year by how well they’ve played.”
Goucher also talked about Jeremy Roenick’s comments about the Tyler Seguin trade, and his pick for Boston’s 7th Player Award: