The Boston Bruins fought back from an 0-2 hole in Montreal, laid a whooping on the defending Eastern Conference champion-Flyers and are now waiting to face the Tampa Bay Lightning for the right to play for Lord Stanley's Cup. They've earned everything they've gotten.
With that much being established, it's still necessary to point out that despite the four-game sweep of the Flyers, the Bruins must be wary to not put too much stock into fool's gold.
Or, in this case, maybe it's fool's Black and Gold, but whatever the case, the Bruins can't get ahead of themselves. They proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they were hungrier than the Flyers, but the 20-7 goal differential in the series can be a bit misleading. So, too, can the four-game sweep.
Yes, the B's scored a touchdown in Game 1, and they deserve credit, but that game was about one thing and one thing only: a complete and utter embarrassment between the pipes for Philly. Brian Boucher and Sergei Bobrovsky looked more like Frick and Frack than they did a pair of NHL-caliber goaltenders, and hockey fans across the country were robbed of the opportunity to watch a playoff hockey game. Instead, they watched a peewee hockey game (or maybe even squirts … or mites) that never had a chance to be a competition.
Then, in Game 2, goaltending was again the top story, though this time it was Tim Thomas getting recognition for turning in one of the most remarkable performances in Bruins playoff history. Fifty-two saves were made by the Bruins' netminder, and the B's won in overtime. Even then, Boston had luck on its side, as Danny Briere, the most prolific goal scorer in the playoffs to that point, whiffed on the easiest goal of his life shortly before the third period expired.
After that, it was all Bruins — no ifs, ands or buts allowed. Early scoring, stifling defense, solid goaltending and even the breaking of a massive power-play slump led the Bruins to their first four-game sweep since the conference quarterfinals in '09. They put their foot on the throat of a downed opponent, and for that, the Bruins deserve a world's worth of credit. It's also exactly the mentality the team should carry into the next round versus Tampa Bay.
What the Bruins should forget, though, is the "four-game sweep." They are a good team that, when everyone is playing their best, can beat any other team. But they can't get fooled by what Philadelphia just gave them.
Thomas posted a .953 save percentage against Philly, but he might not be able to stop more than 95 percent of the shots coming at him next round — not with Steven Stamkos teeing up one-timers from the faceoff dot. You could say the same for Tampa's Dwayne Roloson, but you can bet he's not going to let in the softies that Boucher did last round. That Brad Marchand wrister from 45 feet that allowed Boston to get back into Game 2? That's not finding the net this round. The blue-line slapper from Johnny Boychuk that beat Bobrovsky and turned out to be the game-winner in Game 4? That's probably finding Roloson's glove next week.
That isn't to say the Bruins aren't good enough to win or that the Lightning are a completely unstoppable force. It's a simple realization that the Bruins caught some breaks against Philadelphia, and it's time to refocus and not buy in to the idea that they're as good as those numbers indicate — especially with Patrice Bergeron indefinitely out of the mix.
When the puck drops later this week in Boston, they're 0-0 again. If they forget that, all those wins against Montreal and Philly will be forgotten, too.
Are the B's as dominant as their 4-0 record and 20-7 goal differential versus Philadelphia indicate? Share your thoughts below.