Bruins analyst Andy Brickley recently noted that the B’s need to play their game if they want to come away victorious in the first round of the playoffs, but which element of their game is the most important in the upcoming series?
The Bruins clearly play a more physical game than the Canadiens, and that physicality goes a long way in stopping the Habs’ speed-oriented game. The Big Bad Bruins have used their physical nature to dominate Montreal in their two wins this season, and they’ll need that toughness to stifle the Canadiens throughout the playoff series.
Claude Julien‘s performance will definitely be under a microscope during the Bruins’ postseason play. The B’s haven’t advanced past round two under Julien, and his actions throughout the playoffs this season could determine his fate and future in Boston.
The Bruins will definitely need to keep their eye on Montreal’s young blueliner P.K. Subban. He’s been a tough force to keep up with this season, and he’s scored two of his team-leading 10 power play goals against the B’s this year. Containing Subban will be an important key to this matchup if the Bruins want to gain an edge over the Habs.
While it’s important for the Bruins to maintain their physical edge in this series, it’s crucial for the team to avoid taking too many penalties. The Canadiens have an advantage over the B’s on special teams, as their power play and penalty kill units rank seventh in the league. The Bruins, on the other hand, rank 20th in power play percentage and 16th on the penalty kill.
Finally, as the team’s leading scorer, the Bruins need Milan Lucic to be on his game throughout this series. Lucic has posted great numbers against the Habs this season, but he hasn’t scored a goal since March 22. If there’s ever a time for a Lucic resurgence, it’s now.