BOSTON (CBS) –The Boston Bruins begin their quest for another Stanley Cup Friday night when they open their first-round series against the Detroit Red Wings at the TD Garden.
98.5 The Sports Hub’s Adam Jones welcomed Mike Loftus of the Patriot Ledger to Thursday night’s show to break down the series. Loftus says the Bruins have a big factor in their favor in goaltender Tuukka Rask, but their experience over the last three years is also a big advantage over a young Red Wings team.
“I think the know-how and the experience is a big factor, and the idea they don’t get rattled,” said Loftus. “I don’t see the Bruins losing this series. I feel like they always have to go seven games in the first round, and I think they will win this series in seven games. One of the keys is to get on this team early and put them behind. They have a lot of young guys, and put them in the Garden and beat them and maybe they’re not as excited if they go back to Detroit trailing in the series.”
The Red Wings took three of the four regular season matchups with Boston, but Loftus warns that three of those came in October and November, and these are two very different teams right now.
“Three of the four games are ancient history. So much has changed from the Bruins perspective since those games,” he said. “They have guys who are contributing now that were hardly a factor at that point, like Loui Eriksson, Carl Soderberg and Kevan Miller. I’m not as up to what the Red Wings were like then, but since that point the Red Wings changed, I guess because of injuries, but if you look down their roster they needed a jolt of youth, which has helped them get into these postseason.”
“The last meeting (a 3-2 Bruins loss on April 2 in Detroit) is the one I would look at close, and the Bruins lost but they could have won,” said Loftus. “I don’t look at the four as a group, I look at the one a couple of weeks ago and leave it at that.”
While Loftus says the Bruins do have questions when it comes to their defensive pairings, they also have some problems on their third and fourth line with Chris Kelly (back spasms) and Daniel Paille (possible concussion) likely sidelined for the start of the series.
“Their scoring depth was part of that great run they had in March, and I’m not sure if you count on that the beginning of the series,” he said. “If Chris Kelly can’t play that limits what the third line is capable of. Same thing with Paille possibly not playing; the fourth line had a great series against the Rangers (last playoffs) and if those couple of guys are missing, they’ll need their top two lines and power play to carry them.
“I like the fact that Kelly, Paille, these are role players but they are leaders and have contributed in the playoffs before. The Red Wings don’t have that, and I don’t think there are many teams that can match that.”