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Gag(ne) reflex

Posted by Eric Wilbur, Boston.com Staff  May 9, 2011 09:15 AM

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Tell me where you've heard this one before. 

The Bruins lose a player who was arguably their playoff MVP to injury just as Simon Gagne prepares for a return to the ice.

Of course, many pointed to the Bruins and Flyers trading off David Krejci and Gagne in last year's now-avenged debacle as the turning point in the series for Philadelphia. The fear here is that, um, lightning strikes twice.

We're still days away from Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals - days away from finding our when Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals will be - but Patrice Bergeron's status remains in doubt following the "mild" concussion he suffered Friday night. That means fans who championed for Tyler Seguin to see some action during the postseason will get their wish, and Seguin can probably do some damage against a quick team like Tampa Bay. At the expense of Bergeon though?

And at the same time the Lightning get Gagne back? Don't like it at all.

This year, of course, is different, in case you've yet to notice. The Bruins are a far deeper team than the one that coughed up a 3-0 series lead one year ago, and are probably far more capable of handling the loss of one of their star players. Heck, Milan Lucic might as well have been out for the first series-plus based on his production. If Friday night is any indication though, the Bruins may have found the guy that they need to step up in Bergeron's absence.

And unlike last year, when the Bruins were left playing with a loopy Marc Savard, the balance is a complete 180. Boston has four of the top 13 scorers in the playoffs this year (Bergeron, Brad Marchand, Nathan Horton, and Krejci). Last year there was nothing equal to what guys like Horton and Marchand have contributed. Losing Bergeron a year ago would have been the kill switch. It was with Krejci. This time they have the tools to stay afloat.

History won' t, it can't repeat itself. Boston took care of that last week in impressive fashion. 

But the Lightning getting one of their best players back just as the Bruins lose one of theirs, well, we've been here before. 

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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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