BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Bruins are on to the second round, which is where they should be. But much to the surprise of everyone in the NHL, their opponent is the Columbus Blue Jackets and not the top-seeded Tampa Bay Lightning.
That’s because the Blue Jackets swept the Presidents’ Cup trophy winners right out of the first round in stunning fashion. After going down 3-0 in the first period of Game 1, the Blue Jackets owned the rest of the series, earning them a nine-day layoff before their series with the Bruins gets underway Thursday night at TD Garden.
What can Boston expect out of the surprising Blue Jackets? No one really knows, but chances are it’s going to be another hard-fought series. WBZ-TV sports producer Scott Sullivan broke down the series in the latest edition of “A Slice Of Sully,” and thinks this one will likely come down to the two goaltenders: Boston’s Tuukka Rask and Columbus’ Sergei Bobrovsky.
Rask is coming off a spectacular Game 7 against the Leafs where he stopped all but one of the 33 shots that went his way. He has a 2.32 goals against average for the postseason.
But Bobrovsky was even better against the high-powered Lightning. After letting up three goals in the first period of Game 1, he held Tampa to just five goals the rest of the way. He carries a 2.01 GAA into the second round and can steal a series for his team, which is why Sully gives him a slight edge over Tuukka in the matchup.
“I would give Bobrovsky the edge. This guy is a two-time Vezina winner. When he is on, as he was after that first period against Tampa, he is tough,” said Sully. “He’s carried teams to the postseason twice, and he made some tough stops against Tampa. He is going to be tough to beat. You kind of hope he goes down a little bit; he can be streaky at times.
“Tuukka, he is steady but he kind of goes the way the Bruins’ defense goes and the structure of the defense. When they play sound defensively, he doesn’t see a lot of tough shots and he plays well. When they start playing loose, he can get in trouble,” he added.
But given Boston’s ability to adapt to any opponent, Sully is giving them the overall edge in the series.
“I like the Bruins in six. They can match any style and that’s the key to their success, and them going all the way.”
Rochie wants to see the Bruins win in seven games, because nothing beats a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Watch the full segment in the clip above and click here for previous episodes of “A Slice Of Sully.”