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You Hab to do it

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  April 27, 2010 08:55 AM

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Not to go all Tony Mazz on you here, but there's something you know you need to do.

Root for the Canadiens.

I understand, you'd just assume plow through the entire DVD collection of Jyjou, the French-miming clown, but think about the repercussions that could result from one night of filthy guilt.

- Home ice.

- A semifinal showdown against the banged-up Philadelphia Flyers.

- The potential to face either the Matt Cooke Penguins or the hated Habs when the stakes are even higher.

Any Bruins fan shouting "Bring on the Penguins" with an immediacy normally reserved for fast food and armchair quarterbacks isn't looking at the big picture. Sure, there's epic drama in a Penguins matchup, especially with Marc Savard potentially taking the ice for the first time since Cooke laid him out on March 7. But wouldn't you rather bypass the moment in lieu of Savard getting his legs under him against Philadelphia?

In essence, would you rather have a power play-only Savard or a more complete player when it comes time to play Pittsburgh?

And if Montreal somehow gets past the defending champs, well that's not a bad consolation prize for the finals either, is it?

Of course, all this assumes the Bruins would get past the Flyers, but even the most hardened Philly fan would tell you that Boston faces a better chance against them than vs. the Penguins. But if the Bruins were to have two weeks of Savard, ice-hardened and more mentally and physically stable for either Pittsburgh or Montreal...well, you start to dream, don't you?

Really, the team we saw last night, the one that dispatched of the Sabres for their second playoff series victory in the past 11 years, was a microcosm of everything we know and don't know about the Bruins. The usual goats were in place, Dennis Wideman and Michael Ryder both made boneheaded decisions that led to Buffalo goals. Tuukka Rask wasn't outstanding (though the Ryder and Wideman blunders - particularly Ryder's - weren't his fault), but good enough to beat Ryan Miller for a fourth time in the series. Mark Recchi continued drinking his shipment from Juan Ponce de León Springs. David Krejci, who had an uneven campaign during the regular season, emerged when his team needed him most with a pair of goals on the evening. Miroslav Satan=Orlando Cabrera?

For all that we didn't know about these Bruins heading into the postseason, we know a lot more now. Or, at least we think we do. Do you realize that the Bruins are fourth among playoff teams with their 27.3 percent success rate on the power play? Of course you're not surprised that only Buffalo, Colorado, and New Jersey scored fewer goals per game, and each of those teams is making tee times and looking for mint julep recipes this weekend. There's a little bit of surprise and a little bit of the same ol' with this team in the playoffs.

But for the second year in a row, there will be Boston hockey in May. No goalie has played better than Philadelphia's Brian Boucher, reason No. 1 why the Flyers were able to squash the New Jersey Devils. But Jeff Carter is out indefinitely, and Simon Gagne is out until at least Game 3 with a broken toe. I mean, don't look now, but after a season filled with injuries, the Bruins are actually getting healthy (Mark Stuart?) when that means everything.

The Penguins are a tasty dessert. The Flyers are the vegetables Mom wants you to eat beforehand.

That being said, I fully expect the Capitals to win 7-0 tomorrow night in Washington. But that won't stop me from needing a good skin-deep scrubbing until then.


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About the Author

Eric Wilbur is a Boston.com sports columnist who is still in awe of what Dana Kiecker pulled off that one time in Toronto. He lives in the Boston area with his wife and three children. Comments and suggestions for the best Buffalo wing spots are encouraged.

Contact Eric Wilbur by e-mail or follow him on Twitter.

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