Re: Boston vs Detroit round 1 thread.
posted at 4/13/2014 9:33 AM EDT
Your favorite newspaper or website will do this for you in a few days - either game day or as part of a playoff preview - but I like to get a jump on these things.
Know your Red Wings.
- The Wings didn't have a single player score 50 points this season - though Alfredsson, Kronwall and Nyquist might get there today if they play.
- The only Wing to hit the 20 goal mark is Nyquist.
- Everyone went loopy over Tavares getting injured at the Olympics, but Henrik Zetterberg going down may be more relevant. He had 48 points in 45 games for the Wings and finished fourth in team scoring even though he missed almost half the year.
- Datsyuk is back, but hasn't been a major threat for the Wings since his return. He has two goals in 5 games. Depending on today's results, he could finish the year as a minus player for the first time ever.
- Detroit is not the Wings of yore, but they are exactly what their record says they are - at least, in terms of performance over the season: 16th in wins, 16th in goals/game, 18th in goals against/game, 1.01 in 5vs5, 16th in PP, 12th in PK, 14th in FO%. But then, this is a new season.
- Detroit's scoring comes off the RW - 3 of their top 5 scorers are RWs. The LW is fast, though, with Tatar and Abdelkadr. Legwand, Datsyuk and Helm don't look that dangerous on paper this year, but Legwand is an underappreciated player, Datsyuk is Datsyuk, and Helm is the kind of player who hurts you with timely scoring and hustle.
- Interesting mix on D with Kronwall and Ericsson top notch players (I'm betting Ericsson plays), DeKeyser, Smith and Kindl a solid Jr. Varsity, and Quincey and Lashoff better in Detroit than they'd be in a lot of places.
- Detroit won the regular season series 3-1. Bruins won the first game, Detroit the next three including a 6-1 pumping that was the worst game of the Bruins's year to these eyes. Aggregate score Wings 13 - Bruins 9.
- Bruins controlled the first game, Wings scored 2 in under 3 minutes of the second period to take the second (a late goal by Lucic made it close), Wings dominated game 3 with a late Iginla goal breaking the shutout bid, and then the Wings again scored two goals in rapid succession to take the final game of the season - even though the Bruins controlled the play and outshot the wings 35-20.
- Head to head, no Bruin scored more than once against the Wings, while Zetterberg had 3 and Nyquist and Tatar each had 2 (Nyquist had his 3rd of the year and then his 28th against the Bruins - long time between those games!). Reilly Smith had four assists to lead the Bruins folllowed by 3 points for Fat. Franzen and Andersson both had 3 assists to go with Zetterberg's 3 goals.
- Zetterberg vs. No Zetterberg is clearly a huge difference-maker.
- Rask played all four games vs. the Wings. Howard and Gustavsson split the series against the Bruins. Howard, likely to be the starter all the way for Detroit, was 1-1 in his two games.
- The Bruins had 3 ppg against the Wings. The Wings had one against Boston in that blowout.
- Most memorable moment of the season series may have been Datsyuk making a couple of standout strips of Bergeron and Bergeron actually expressing surprise/frustration on the second one when he seemed to have a grade A scoring chance. If Datsyuk is healthy, this series pits two of the best all around players in the game against one another - potentially head to head. Bergeron has only one point against the Wings in four games. Datsyuk has 2 and missed one of the games.
- Playing the matchups will be interesting: Does Babcock sick his top D pairing on Krejci or Bergeron? I'm guessing Krejci because they're physical enough to go at it hammer and tongs with Lucic and Iginla. I'm going to guess Krejci sees Legwand and Kronwall, and Bergeron gets Datsyuk and the second pairing. That means the head to head between Soderberg and Helm lines will be very important.
- NHL.com did a story on Hamilton and DeKeyser taking different paths to similar careers to date (Hamilton having a few years of development in hand). Could be an interesting story: if Hamilton plays like good Hamilton - offensively aggressive, smart, physical but positionally sound in his own end - he could be a key to the series. If DeKeyser outplays him, it could be a much tougher series.
- Bruins will have tough decisions to make on the blueline. The playoffs are here. Which mix of Krug/Meszaros/Bartkowski/Hamilton is the best fit against the Wings, and how much does CJ change from game to game to keep these guys in it and sharp and confident?
I think this is going to be a good series, but one that belies the season series. Based on nothing but gut instinct, I could see Detroit taking the first game, the Bruins evening it on home ice; Detroit takes game three, the Bruins even it before heading home, then they win at home and close the series on the road. Bruins in six.