Obviously, the Bruins still have the Buffalo Sabres to take care of in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t look ahead to the next round and worry about Boston’s next opponent. In particular, it might be sacrilege, but the Bruins and their fans have to root, root, root for Montreal to upend Washington because otherwise the Bruins will be battling Pittsburgh.
Anyone who saw the Penguins rally from 3-0 down to take out Ottawa in overtime in Game 6 last night knows just how unbeatable Pittsburgh is, especially over a best-of-seven series. The Pens are so deep, they’re never out of a game regardless of the score. Their goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury gives up goals but then bounces right back when the chips are on the line to make the clutch saves. And he’s Stanley Cup-tested.
Worst of all about any match-up with Pittsburgh is that even if you put the clamps on their stars like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Sergei Gonchar, their other players can kill you.
Pascal Dupuis scored the game-winner, Bill Guerin scored the game-tying goal, Matt Cooke scored twice and Jordan Staal tallied two assists in the series-clinching win over the Senators. Crosby was held point-less, Malkin registered just one helper. And Pittsburgh still won.
“We’re going to do our best to create things,” Crosby said of him and Malkin, “but there are going to be nights when it is tougher than others and some nights where it may not go in or whatever the case is — but we still have to do things out there and we still have to be productive, whether or not it is on the score sheet. We have to be responsible out there and find ways to help. Certainly, there are other guys that can step up and score goals, like we saw here tonight.”
It’s unlikely that the Canadiens could defeat Washington in both of the next two games, but the Bruins can hope that there’s a showdown with Philadelphia, and home-ice advantage, in their playoff future — assuming they have a playoff future beyond the Buffalo series.
In other action last night, San Jose showed it could match Pittsburgh in scoring by secondary stars and eliminated Colorado in a road Game 6. Of course, the difference between San Jose and Pittsburgh is that the Pens’ top stars usually score and occasionally need help. For the Sharks, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau continued their trend of taking the playoffs off, and Joe Pavelski, Ryan Clowe and Devin Setoguchi had to carry the day … again.
Chicago also won yesterday, but at home in Game 5. Game 6 of that series is Monday night.