BOSTON (CBS) – The Bruins’ second round series with the Canadiens is everything we thought it would be.
It’s been passionate, hard-fought, emotional, entertaining and highly unpredictable — and it’ll all come to a close Wednesday night at the TD Garden.
If you’re looking for keys to the game, maybe you’ve noticed the trend that through six games the team who’s scored first went on to win the contest. It’ll be important for the B’s to start fast tonight, but if the Habs score first it won’t be the end of the world just looking at how this NHL postseason has gone.
NHL Network host Kathryn Tappen called in to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show to preview Bruins-Canadiens Game 7 and discuss the rest of the NHL playoffs as well.
“I do think [scoring first] gives the team a lot of energy and some mojo going forward for the game. The other thing is that all the goaltenders in these series are outstanding, so you know things have tightened up defensively.
“That first goal really sets the tone for the team, sets a tone for the game and you’re seeing a lot of momentum coming out of that first goal in each game of the series. But while it’s important, it hasn’t been the end-all be-all for certain teams. There’s certainly room to come back in a game, and in a series as we saw the New York Rangers do last night,” said Tappen.
A big storyline for this series would be whether or not the Bruins could keep their cool, both up in Montreal at the Bell Centre and at home. For the most part the Bruins have been on their best behavior, but at the end of Game 6 the B’s just lost it in the final minutes of the game and some chippiness ensued between the two rivals.
Tappen chalks that up to frustration on the part of the Bruins, who played well for long stretches of the game — especially early on.
“I think the end of that game was just a lot of frustration. Even the fans got involved throwing water bottles. But that’s just what goes on with these teams. It’s a historic rivalry and it’s been going on forever.
“The missed opportunities, the miscommunication from the Boston Bruins is what cost them in that game. I thought they outplayed the Montreal Canadiens as the game went on. I thought they were the better team on the ice and they just didn’t capitalize on the opportunities they had — that’s probably why they were extremely frustrated at the end.
“Maybe that gets carried over into tonight and gets the teams going a little bit.”
After holding a 3-1 series lead, Pittsburgh lost Tuesday night at home in Game 7 to the New York Rangers. Tappen says changes are coming in the Steel City and general manager Ray Shero will “have to look behind the bench first.”
Head coach Dan Bylsma was on the hot seat last year and it’s now been five seasons since Pittsburgh made the Stanley Cup Finals. If fired, Tappen says a lot of doors will open for him into next season and the Pens’ postseason woes can’t solely be placed on him because superstars Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin underperformed.
Crosby is a prolific goal scorer and a Hart trophy candidate ever year, but lately in the postseason he’s been unable to produce at the same clip.
Tappen was asked to rank certain players and on Wednesday morning she said, “I’d put [Crosby] behind Jonathan Toews — he’s the player to watch. He’s a powerhouse, he has the resume with two Cups and two gold medals. You can’t take the skill away from Crosby, but in postseason play no doubt Toews is the better player.”
Listen below for the full discussion: