Faceoff: Caps, Bruins showdown
Best Player on the Bruins
Andrew: This is tough for me, because I don’t think any of the Bruins have been particularly great so far.
The top two offensive lines have pretty much been absent from the score sheet, with guys like Milan Lucic and Tyler Seguin floating through games without much impact.
The defense has been pedestrian at best, with guys like Joe Corvo and Greg Zanon making the top pair of Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg not look so hot.
Rich Peverley would be my choice for the Bruins, but only because he looks engaged at all times and has managed to score some points.
Skating with Lucic and top center David Krejci didn’t exactly work for Peverley, but since Head Coach Claude Julien switched up the lines and put Peverley with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, the 29-year old winger has been Boston’s best skater. It’s been a surprise to watch Peverley be so productive.
Best Player on the Caps:
Alena: Last week, I wrote about how awesome and solid Braden Holtby has been for the Caps.
It wouldn’t exactly be fair to plug him again, even though he’s continued to be more than the Caps could have dreamed as a third string goalie.
So this week, I’m praising defenseman Karl Alzner.
Sure, Alzner isn’t the flashiest player out there and doesn’t light up the score box regularly.
But in six games, he’s recorded 16 blocked shots and 11 hits.
He’s the go-to penalty killing defenseman and for good reason. After six games, he has a +/- of zero after being on the ice for one goal against and one goal for.
Alzner is no Mike Green, a more offensive defenseman, but he’s doing the job protecting his zone.
The people who didn’t think of him as a threat before sure should now because Alzner is one of the main reasons that Boston pucks aren’t getting through.
Analysis on the Series
Andrew: The Bruins haven’t looked at all like the team that won the Stanley Cup last spring.
Tim Thomas hasn’t been Tim Thomas, the top two lines haven’t been effective at all, and the defense hasn’t been airtight. Yet somehow they forced game seven on home ice.
Nothing has impressed me about the Bruins so far this series, which is hard for me to admit.
The advantage was supposed to be between the pipes, but Holtby has been better than the reigning Conn Smythe winner. Bergeron hasn’t been right, Marchand hasn’t been The Little Ball of Hate that he’s supposed to be, and Chara hasn’t exactly been the best defensemen on the team.
I’m very concerned going forward, whether that is in the second round or next year.
This isn’t the same team I watched get all the way to the top.
Alena: The best thing the Caps have done this entire series is block shots.
So far, Washington has shown no fear throwing the body.
Through six games, a Caps player has thrown himself in front of the puck 121 times, including a series-high 27 in game two and 26 in game four.
To compare, through six games, a Boston player has only blocked 80 pucks.
The only time the Bruins out-blocked the Caps was in game three, when they blocked 21 shots to Washington’s 15.
The Caps have always been known as a team that’s willing to give up the body, but these playoffs has certainly proved that.
In terms of scoring, this series has been absolutely ridiculous.
It started off with low-scoring games one and two. Then three of the next four were 4-3 decisions.
For two generally high-scoring teams, it was expected that the series would at least be a bit more consistent.