Season Series: Boston 4-2-0
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The Buffalo Sabres have the best goalie in the NHL with Ryan Miller between the pipes. He is a huge reason team USA beat Canada in round-robin play in the Olympics and also why the States were in the final (among other reasons). Miller is in the top three in the league for goals against average and save percentage. Some would say that Boston’s Tuukka Rask has played better this season than Miller but this isn’t the first year Miller has shown how great his is, while we’ve seen other keepers come and go through-out seasons. Other than Ryan Miller, the Sabres don’t have a huge name player like Washington, Pittsburgh or San Jose but they have a solid group of guys who play hard-nosed hockey, giving up their bodies up with hits, blocking shots and any things else their team calls on them for.
No Sabre has over 25 goals or 65 points and Tim Connolly (battling lower body injury), Derek Roy and Jason Pominville lead the way (they have a combined for 195 points) but players like Thomas Vanek, Tyler Myers and Jochan Hecht (battling upper body injury) help out to make the team a whole. Sometimes, it’s not about being the flashiest like Ovechkin or have the highest paid players but about working together as a team night-in-night-out, and out-working your opponent. Other than the Bruins and Devils, they have the lowest amount of goals scored against them in the Eastern Conference but have scored a lot more goals than both those teams. If all is clicking for the Buffalo with Miller between the pipes, the Sabres are going to be extremely hard to beat as they’ve shown all season long unlike teams like the Habs and Sens who have been hot and cold all season.
The Boston Bruins aren’t in the playoffs because of good offence. Nor are they in the playoffs because of good defence. The reason the Bruins barely squeaked into the playoffs is solely because of the play of their goalie Tuukka Rask. You know what, TheCoach is about to give a lesson to all minor hockey players. If you want to make it too the big leagues, watch the following video and do it yourself… it will make you a name and somebody will give you a chance. It worked for Tuukka… (click link at top of post to see video) ...
All anger-management jokes aside, this dude has been throwing milk crates turning heads all season long with the best goals against average and save percentage in the entire league! The problem is, there is no one in front of him who can muster any offensive fire power to put Boston in a position to win big games. Patrice Bergeron is one talented-mofo and David Krejci is going to be a star in the league for years to come, but when a defensemen (Zdeno Chara) is your third leading point getter and your 4th is old enough to be Sidney Crosby’s father (Mark Recchi = 42 years old)… you are in trouble. Bergeron and Krejci are by far the most offensively skilled players on the Bruins roster but they have no one to play with. Hopefully their early 1st round pick (thanks to the Maple Leafs) will help but they’ll have to wait until 2010-11′ to see results from the draft. As for now, the Bruins aren’t going anywhere in the playoffs. When you just barely make the playoffs and have two teams from your division (Ottawa and Buffalo) ahead of you, you stand no chance… even if you’ve got the best goalie statistically in the league… Bruins fans heads will hurt more than Marc Savard’s.
** After making my pick, sometimes you think the entire next day about it... and you have a gut feeling that something needs to change... I am changing this pick (as well as my Detroit-Phoenix pick **
** Previous pick was Sabres in SIX **
TheCoach’s Pick: SABRES in SEVEN