BOSTON – With the new playoff format installed for this season, there will be some adjustments and interesting situations brewing for all of the Stanley Cup playoff teams. The divisional rounds have already spurred on plenty of conversation, and the Bruins seem to be one of the test cases given their possible collision course with the arch-rival Montreal Canadiens in the second round.
One could make an easy argument that the Bruins couldn’t have had a more difficult road in the first two rounds of the playoffs than potentially going through Detroit and Montreal, and that isn’t really befitting the team that worked excellently all season to secure the NHL’s best record.
But that’s fodder for discussions at GM meetings down the line in some sunny locale. The Bruins are locked in a first round series tied at 1-1 with the Detroit Red Wings headed back to the Motor City for a pair of games, but the Habs have taken a commanding 3-0 lead on a Tampa Bay Lightning beset by issues and injuries. Ben Bishop going down right before the series started was a killer for the Bolts, and Steven Stamkos was a bit foggy after taking a knee to the head in Game 3 on Sunday night.
It appears all but a certainty that the Canadiens will move on to the second round to face the winner of the Bruins/Red Wings series, and the Bruins have experienced plenty of issues with the Habs over the last two seasons.
But don’t expect Bruins head coach Claude Julien to worry about that while he’s preaching the one game at a time mantra to the Black and Gold while facing a dangerous Detroit bunch.
“That’s their series. We’re worried about ours right now. Our players shouldn’t worry about that. As coaches, you worry about your team, but you also are allowed to watch and prepare in a certain way by watching the other series as well,” said Julien. “I don’t think it’s a big issue. I know that there were times in the past where we were done, and we had to watch a couple of different series because we didn’t know, depending on who would win, who we’d play.
“So there’s no doubt it’s a lot clearer [who the next possible opponent would be] now. We don’t have to look too far to find out who our next opponents could be, but at the same time, it’s about getting out of this [series] here. Right now it’s a 1-1 tied series that, to me, has the potential to go a long ways.”
No word on whether the 2-5-1 record compiled by the Bruins against Detroit and Montreal this season is keeping Julien up at night knowing how they’d be the 1-2 combo in the postseason.