Thanks to the Habs showing some heart and the Capitals' annual meltdown, the Bruins find themselves with home ice advantage in round two against the Filthadelphia Flyers. I'm sure no one would've thought the B's would have home ice at all during the playoffs and yet, there they are. Of course, there are still some non-believers:
This series should be a bit of a throwback, with every square inch of ice hotly contested. We didn't believe in the Bruins down the stretch and we didn't believe in them against Buffalo, and we find no reason to start now... Flyers in seven games. --Scott Burnside, ESPN.com, April 29th
Maybe the fact that the Bruins continue to win and improve their play is enough to get you to believe in the B's now. Hell, even Wideman has turned the jeers into cheers. Also factor in Savard coming back and Carter and Gagne out...
Y'know what. Let's get on with our picks and predictions (And yes, expect some hometown favoritism, but call 'em how we see 'em). Our thoughts after the jump.
Philly took 32 minor penalties in just 5 games against the Devils. Boston's power play isn't prolific, but the return of Savard should boost a power play that was starting to turn around against Buffalo. Philly is too dumb to realize this is a bad thing. With Carter out with an injury (i.e. banging Hartnell's wife) and Gagne hobbling, Philly's offense is a lot less scary. Chara and Boychuk will be able to shut them down and Rask will again be spectacular. Boston learned how to win ugly against Buffalo and they'll do more of the same in Round 2.
Round 2 Hero: Johnny Boychuk. He's at his best when he is physical and fire slap shots. He will respond to Philly's physicality by breaking their souls and peppering Boucher with slap shots.
Round 2 Goat: Can you really pick anyone other than Carcillo? Yeah, he had that OT game winner against New Jersey but he will inevitably do something stupid that will cost Philly a game.
Round 2 Goat (Alternative): Pierre McGuire, for what is sure to be constant verbal fellatio of Mike Richards.
Last year in round two, the Bruins were battered and bruised. Hunwick was looking for a new spleen, Kessel was being a pussy and Recchi’s entire upper-torso was shattered. This year, Bruins are much healthier. They’re getting Savard back and hopefully the return of Mark Stuart is on the near horizon. Calder and Vezina snub Tuukka Rask has been solid in net for Boston and the loss of Gagne and Carter aren’t going to help the Flyers offensive chances. As for the Bs, they’re hitting their stride when it counts the most. My bold prediction: Tuukka gets two shutouts – Game 1 and Game 5.
Round 2 Hero: Mark Recchi. Old man Recchi will have a field day in front of Boucher. Round 2 Goat: Carcillo because of that god-awful shit-stain under his nose he calls moustache. And also, Flyer fans. Watch this video. Skip to 2:20 for the “Flyers Chant.” [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wz8B4osT4Lc]
Philidelphia is without Carter and Gagne...I'll take it. Not that the Bruins offense has been stellar, but they put up a respectable number of goals on Ryan Millar and we got Savard coming back. Brian Boucher's chance of repeating his epic first round performance is about the same as Hartnell 's chance to NOT being a complete dickweed. To wrap up the series: Rask will be solid, Recci will defy age, Bruins fans will worship Satan, Wideman will continue to confuse us, Boychuk will destroy worlds, Boucher will choke, and Hartnell will probably try to nibble on someone.
Round 2 Hero: Wheeler...hahahah just kidding, but Krejci should have a good series.
Round 2 Goat: Hartnell and his stupid...stupid hair.
Take those predictions to the bank. Go Bruins!