Happy May and get those seeds in the ground. Now, let’s go back to the ice.
The Bruins could not have been happier to have a vacation end at nine days. They were more than ready to get to work last night in opening the second round with a 4-1 victory against Carolina.
After sweeping the Canadiens, the Bruins had to watch each other skate around and that got real old.
Boston can win the Cup and is favored against the Hurricanes. Carolina surprised the hockey world with the win over the Devils in seven games, eliminating goalie Martin Brodeur, who many thought was on his way to another Cup.
Tim Thomas in net is a primary reason Bruins’ coach Claude Julian said before the start of round two, “There’s some new life in our room, and excitement.”
Thomas comes into the series with a .946 save percentage, third best in the playoffs, and is second only to Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo in goals against at 1.50.
There is a real chance these two net minders could meet in the Cup finals.
David Krejci is playing well at both ends of the ice with a plus-6 in the first round, tied for first in that category.
Phil Kessel has some hard earned goals and black- and-blue playoff marks to show for it.
Marc Savard is displaying the tremendous passing skills that make him a top point man in the league. Better yet, Savard has shown he can play both ends of the ice.
In the playoffs, that matters a ton.
For Savard, a long run for the Bruins will be a bit of redemption. His career has been marked with great skill, but also with labels that have questioned his desire to win and his ability to be a team player.
Funny how a successful run can change bad raps, especially when the player you took over for, Joe Thornton, is now taking the hits for again not being able to lead a talented San Jose team out of the first round.
The Bruins’ power play produced against the Canadiens and their penalty-killing unit held Montreal off the board. Special teams matter the deeper a team moves into the spring.
Carolina won the Cup in 2006 and then disappeared from the playoffs. On that winning team were Aaron Ward and Mark Recchi, now Bruins.
Boston had not won a playoff series in a decade prior to the Canadiens 4-0 sweep.
For those reasons, both teams have a real hunger and both have surpassed the expectations coming into the regular season.
The sooner the Bruins establish themselves against this Carolina team the better. The memories of the last second goals that got the Hurricanes past New Jersey linger, raising the back-of-the-mind question of the degree luck played into the series win.
The Bruins are a better team, but these are the Stanley Cup playoffs.