The Bruins should handle Ottawa fairly easily in the first round of the playoffs.
The Bruins could not have asked for a better first round matchup than the Ottawa Senators. Boston has owned Ottawa this year winning five out of their six games against each other. Ottawa is a team that is suspect in their own end, an area that the Bruin’s talent should exploit. They also have limited offense with Jason Spezza, Milan Michalek, and Daniel Alfredsson as their only high scoring forwards, and defenseman Erik Karlsson is second on the team with 78 points. Chara and Seidenberg should be able to shut down this top line, and Karlsson really is the x-factor for the Sens. As good is he is offensively, he is that bad defensively. He is so poor in his own end that he plays less than 30 seconds a game on the penalty kill; that is last among defensemen on the team.
The Bruins should also be able to push the Senators around physically. With the exception of their fourth line, and Matt Carkner and Chris Phillips on defense, Ottawa is not an overly tough team. They have only six players with over 50 penalty minutes compared to Boston’s eight. Of those, only four Senators have over 80 PIM, and six Bruins have more than that number.
I also give the Bruins the edge in net as well. While Craig Anderson is a decent NHL goalie, he is nowhere near the level of Tim Thomas. Especially after the way Thomas put the team on his back last season he definitely gets the edge in this matchup.
Overall I think the Bruins are a much better hockey team, and have proven that throughout this season. They are better offensively, defensively, in goal, and are tougher. Ottawa is no push over either, they are a good team that deserves to be in the playoffs. This should be an exciting series with lots of physical play and nastiness between these two division rivals, but in the end I believe the Bruins will win it in five games.
- Jonathan Duncan