The Buffalo Sabres and the Boston Bruins are Northeast Division rivals and will be battling for what is sure to be a great first-round series, but the biggest part of this series will be played between veteran blue-liner Zdeno Chara and rookie Tyler Myers.
The two defensemen were not the factors they were expected in game one, but expect to be key components for the rest of the series.
The 6’9”, 260 pound Chara, last season’s Norris Trophy winner, will be an essential part of Boston’s first-round chances. He finished this season with 44 points in total, but just seven goals.
But anything Chara can do, Myers can do better.
While he stands an inch shorter than Chara, and weighs just 222 pounds, Myers finished his rookie season with 11 goals and 48 points. He also had 137 blocked shots compared with Chara’s 91.
Their rookie seasons are not even comparable. You’ve already seen Myers’ first-year numbers, but Chara’s were not as good.
Chara played just 25 games in his rookie year with the New York Islanders. He had just a single point in those 25 games.
Ice time is where Chara has the edge, as he should.
Chara averaged 25:22 on the ice this season, while Myers averaged 23:44—still a tremendous amount of time for a rookie.
Myers is not only a better skater than Chara was as a rookie, but his smooth motion and quick feet make him a better skater than Chara currently is.
The 20-year-old Myers may have the youth and the potential, but Chara has the experience and knows what it takes to win in the playoffs. Whether or not Chara’s experience translates to a first-round upset is a different story.
Judging from their play in game one, Myers looks to have the slight upper hand despite Chara playing over 27 minutes—but expect the series to really heat up for game two, and the two giants will be at the center of things.