Ok, I don't say this sort of thing very often, and to be honest it makes me very uncomfortable. I am squirming in my seat as a type. But here goes: deep breath... the Montreal Canadiens are a very good hockey team.
The B's win in the first round was less than impressive. Many of the games were close and could have gone either way, including the game 7 OT. Yet... the Habs had been successful against them all year; they knew exactly how to beat them. And the Bs spotted them game 1 by turning in a lackluster effort. Yet somehow they still won the series. That's impressive, if not very pretty.
The Flyers are a step down in comparison, as are Washington and Tampa. None of those teams have the complete package to win a cup, and none of them match up against the Bs the way the Habs did.
That said, I think the Bruins are fully capable of losing in the second round again. After all, they were the better team last year too--and look what happened.
I keep thinking about this game a few seasons back. As I remember it the Bruins were fighting for a playoff berth at the end of the season. They had to win the game in regulation in order to keep their chances alive. The score was even with the seconds ticking off in the 3rd period. The Bruins had a power play going and Marc Savard yelled at the coach to put him in. He jumped over the boards and arced across the zone yelling and banging his stick on the ice. He got the pass and buried the puck in the back of net with just seconds remaining. That's what it takes to go deep in the playoffs.
I miss Savvy and I wish he could be a part of this run. But we have seen signs of this kind of competitiveness--the desire to be the guy who goes out there and wins the game--in this year's squad. I see it in Horton. It shows up in Bergeron from time to time. Kelly may have it. I've even seen it in Chara, although he hasn't made good on it so far--but the desire is there. I saw it in Lucic last year. But is it enough? Will they all step up?
The way to the cup final is clear Boys. Are you gonna go for it?