NHL playoff preview: Bruins face daunting task against top seed Canadians

April 11, 2008

It’s April, which means it’s time for warmer weather and sunny skies. Well, everywhere but in 16 arenas in North America, where the hockey season is getting colder for the playoffs. Sixteen teams, spread out from Boston to San Jose and from Washington to Calgary, will fight for Lord Stanley’s Cup and bragging rights for the rest of their lives. If we’re lucky, we’ll even see a brawl.

The match up the majority of readers will care about is the hometown Boston Bruins taking on the Montreal Canadians. Montreal earned the #1 seed with the best record in the conference. But that is not the only adversity that the Bruins must overcome. All-star center Marc Savard is still hurting from back problems stemming from a hit he received the last time these two teams faced off. Forward Chuck Kobasew has a broken leg from a shot by teammate Zdeno Chara a few weeks ago. The defensive corps are still hurting. There is some hope on the horizon as one of the team’s stars, Patrice Bergeron, has been cleared for full-contact practice after sustaining a devastating concussion back in October and is only a matter of days away from returning. The team played their first game Thursday and play twice more this weekend.

There are three other match ups for the Eastern Conference. One pits the New Jersey Devils against the New York Rangers. The two teams are bitter rivals from across the Hudson River. The Rangers won the first game, defeating superstar goalie Martin Brodeur. The #2 seeded Pittsburgh Penguins look to defeat the Ottawa Senators after Ottawa won a series between the same teams in last year’s playoffs. Pittsburgh won the first game. The red-hot Washington Capitals take on the Philadelphia Flyers in the final match up. Washington won 11 of their last 12 games and may be the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

In the west, the Detroit Red Wings will take on the Nashville Predators. Detroit was the team with the best record in the NHL and should make the Stanley Cup finals. The #2 seed San Jose Sharks will take on the Calgary Flames. Calgary won the first game on San Jose’s home ice. The Minnesota Wild will take on the Colorado Avalanche. Colorado won the first game. The Anaheim Ducks will take on the Dallas Stars in the final Western match up.

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