BOSTON (CBS) – In their only meeting of the 2013-14 season since losing to the Blackhawks last June in the Stanley Cup Finals, the Bruins fell to Chicago 3-2 in a shootout back in January. They’ll square off again Thursday night at the TD Garden, where the B’s hope to exact revenge and even the score.
In a lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, the Blackhawks were far and away the best team, amassing 77 points in 48 games. They went on to defeat your Boston Bruins in six games, and here we are nearly a year later and both teams are in position to meet again for the hardware.
However, one team is in better shape since that time and the other remained the same, according to Bob Beers of the Bruins Radio Network.
Beers joined Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak Thursday afternoon to preview tonight’s game, and it’s evident to him who’s made the biggest strides since last June.
“I don’t think [Chicago] is better. I think they’re relatively the same. If you look at their lineup they really didn’t make a whole lot of changes. A couple of minor tweaks here and there, but not a whole lot of changes to what they have right now. If they’re better it’s because players have gotten better from year to year, but maybe some of the older guys in their lineup have declined a little bit.
“The Bruins made more of a definitive changeover in the offseason, trying to change mostly over in the right wing there. They have three different right wingers in their lineup than they did last year. That’s where most of the change has come from Boston’s side of it, and on defense. Let’s be realistic, [Adam] McQuaid, [Dennis] Seidenberg and [Andrew] Ference were all in there last year and this year none of those three guys are gonna be in there.
“It’s a real different look to the way the Bruins are on defense, the way they can move the puck, that right side and they’re playing with all kinds of confidence right now. I think Chicago is by and large the same team.”
Claude Julien and his players have been nothing but complimentary of the Blackhawks leading up to this game. There’s virtually no animosity between the two teams, and both have a mutual respect for one another for “playing the game the right way” according to Beers.
A lot of talk this week has been centered around defenseman Dennis Seidenberg (ACL/MCL), who hasn’t been ruled out in the event of a deep playoff run. Beers says it’s important for the team to focus on the here and now and not get caught up in the “what ifs?”, and he would say the same thing about Adam McQuaid (quad).
Listen below for the full discussion and Bruins-Blackhawks preview: