What I have wanted to believe all season is that what the B's took away from the previous year is this: the regular season doesn't matter as long as you make it to the playoffs in the end. But that takes a lot of faith, doesn't it? I like to see some hard evidence. To me the B's strong play in the first round is just that. Suddenly things get changed up here and there and everything improves across the board, including their struggling power play. Coincidence? I think not. I think this team has been laying in wait all season. They have their sights on the Conference Final.
Why is everybody taking Rask being snubbed for the Calder lying down? I saw some guy on the NHL network say that Rask had to play "one, maybe two more games" to be considered. Seriously? Just what is the magic number of games a goaltender has to play to be considered for the Calder? Is it written down somewhere? This kid not only ended the season with the best stats in the NHL, but the only reason he didn't play more games is that he had to beat out the Vezina winner for the job. Shouldn't that count for something?
It seems to me that when it comes to goaltenders, how good they are believed to be is incredibly subjective. We have seen this with all the Thomas hate over the years. If they win its because the team plays good defense. If they lose it's because he stinks. Nobody keeps tracks of wins/losses for any other position. Goaltending is important, but is it really that important? What people seem to be left with is the perception they had going in about the guy. Just look at all the Ryan Miller hype. He played well in the Olympics for sure, but not that well. You'd think he single handedly won the gold they way the US media fawns over him. Weird. And it seems to me that a lot of people are assuming that the only reason the Sabres did well this year was Miller. Now that they have lost its because Miller just couldn't do it alone. Personally I think the Sabres are pretty talented all around. It seems that people either blame or ignore the rest of the team when it is convenient to their preconceptions.
One last thought. The way I understand it the B's will either play Pittsburgh or Philly in the second round. I think they can take either team, but would prefer they play Pittsburgh based on how they match up. The Bruins could be the Pens worst nightmare. A Bruins/Flyers series could be a nightmare for everybody, with the winner winding up too wounded to go any further.