BOSTON, MA - MARCH 10: Tomas Vokoun #29 of the Washington Capitals tries to play the puck as Chris Kelly #23 of the Boston Bruins defends on March 10, 2012 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Now that you've read about what we're looking for from Boston over the next week or two, here's what some of the Chowder staff thinks about what we'll see in the Bruins' Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series. Please feel free to add your predictions in the comments.
Phunwin - Even if you think the Capitals skaters can hang with the Bruins skaters, the Tim Thomas/Braden Holtby mismatch is going to swing at least one game. It's looking more and more like Alex Ovechkin has already peaked as a player; by GVT, four Bruin skaters were better, so you can't even use the "best player on the ice" argument for the Caps. The Bruins' scoring depth and muscle should frustrate a Capitals team that's lucky just to be here. Bruins in 5.
Mike - Ultimately the Bruins are the better team, the Caps are more talented than your run of the mill 7 seed, they've played the Bruins tough recently, there will be at least 1 Joe Corvo sighting, two matinee games, and the Bruins tend to start series slowly if they don't involve the Flyers. Bruins in 7.
Scott - I figure that the Bruins will win the first two at home and get one in Washington, then end it in Boston. I think this could easily turn into a seven game series or a sweep for the Bruins, but I think 5 games makes the most sense. Bruins in 5.
Doug - Difference makers will need to be Seidenberg, Bergeron and Lucic. Chara and Thomas will need to be their playoff selves as well. The biggest hit to the Bruins will be not having Horton in the line up as his physical play and willingness to be nasty helped set the tone last year. Guys to watch for are Peverley and Seguin. Both will need to expose the Caps defense to help make up for the missing Horton and loss of Ryder.
Backstrom being back is a big lift for Washington. If Ovechkin decides to open up the game as well and allow Backstrom to lead the charge rather than having him be the 1 man offensive show, we could see a bit more dynamism from the Caps offense compared to previous playoff runs where Ovechkin, when down, attempted to shoulder the entire load of the work. If the Caps can't get through the neutral zone effectively, this will become a long quick series for them. Bruins in 5.
Sarah - Bruins in 6 (that's all she had time for because she's too busy getting her car window replaced/fanboying over Backes and Oshie..not necessarily in that order).