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2011 NHL Playoffs: Bruins/Canadiens May Be Forced to Play Back-to-Back Games

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 23:  Tim Thomas #30 and Nathan Horton #18 of the Boston Bruins celebrate the win in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on April 23, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins defeated the Montreal Canadiens 2-1 in double overtime.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Mark RitterSenior Writer IApril 25, 2011

With the 2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs in full swing there have been a number of terrific story lines that have emerged.

The Nashville Predators moved on to the second round for the first time in franchise history, the Vancouver Canucks are close to an epic failure in their series against the Chicago Blackhawks, and there are goaltending controversies in Vancouver as well as the Philadelphia Flyers (what else is new?).

For the most part, the playoffs have been very dramatic as several series are headed to a seventh game; with a few others still a candidate to do the same.

As the playoffs roll along, each game gets more important, each game is more of a grind for the players and the injuries start to mount up, which brings into question the NHL’s puzzling scheduling.

For example, the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins played a thrilling double overtime game on Saturday night. In what many feel was the best game of the playoffs thus far, the Bruins emerged victorious, taking a 3-2 series lead after dropping the first two games to the Habs at the Boston Garden.

The Bruins victory marked the first time either home team had emerged victorious, which, in itself, was somewhat shocking.

Moving forward, naturally, the Bruins and Canadiens will be playing Monday night, right?

Not so fast.

A quick look at Montreal’s Bell Centre schedule shows Lady Gaga will be in the house on Monday evening, which means the Bruins and Habs may now be forced to play back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Of course the Bruins could shock the hockey world by winning four games in a row against the Canadiens to take the series in six games, but the Habs have not lost four straight all season long and something tells me Montreal will bring their best game Tuesday night.

Now, I am all for back-to-back games, but it makes little sense to have back-to-back games in the playoffs, especially with so much on the line.

Suffice to say, with each playoff game played comes an increased possibility of injury. Players often rely on their days off to heal their bodies, while coaching staffs often use the day to go over video, make roster decisions and conduct player meetings.

So, what’s the rush? Why expose the Bruins and Canadiens players to back-to-back games with so much on the line?

Would it not be a better idea to let the Bruins and Habs fight it out on Tuesday and Thursday?

Thursday’s date is available at the Boston Garden if need be, but yet in an attempt to rush things along, the NHL has ignored this in favor of back-to-back games. Seriously?

I don’t know about you, but I want to see the best hockey possible at playoff time. I am not so sure back-to-back games facilitate that.

Until next time,

Peace!

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