The Stanley Cup Playoffs have come and gone, but one thing we haven’t seen in a while is the kind of competitive pressure that can come with the series.
In this case, there’s a lot of it.
The Cup Final has become an incredibly important series, and while it’s not the only one, it’s the most important.
The last two meetings between the Boston Bruins and Detroit Red Wings have been decided by three goals or less, and in the last two games the Red Wings and Bruins have gone 3-1-1.
In the last 10 playoff games, the Red Wing and Blue Jackets have gone 5-1, and the Bruins have won seven of those.
There’s a ton of pressure to get that job done.
“That’s why you get all the hype in this series,” said forward Nicklas Backstrom.
“You’re going to be going to Detroit on Sunday, and that’s a big game for them, too.
They’re the underdog.”
That pressure has certainly been on the Bruins this postseason, especially since the team won Game 5 on Wednesday in Game 4.
The Red Wings are the best team in the NHL and will likely be a contender this year, but the Bruins are a wildcard.
They’ve been playing great hockey, and they’ve also been playing well.
Boston is tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins for the second-best record in the Eastern Conference and is in position to make the playoffs.
However, the Bruins aren’t a great team when they win in Pittsburgh.
The Penguins are a great offensive team, and Boston is coming off a disappointing 6-6-1 season that saw them finish the year with the third-worst record in their division.
That could have been a lot worse had the Bruins been able to get the three goals that tied the game at 4-4 in the third period on Thursday night.
But a strong first period in Game 3 and some timely saves by captain Zdeno Chara helped the Bruins keep the game scoreless in the final minute.
That allowed Chara to take over the game in the dying minutes, with Backstrom and rookie defenseman Brendan Smith each taking a shot from close range on the ensuing power play.
It was a crucial moment that set up a two-goal, one-for-one chance in the shootout.
It worked for the Bruins, who went on to win 4-3.
It’s a tough series to win, and it’s always tough to lose, but there’s never any doubt about the Bruins’ ability to do it.
“It’s a long series, but we’ve played well,” said defenseman Kevan Miller.
“The fact that we’ve gotten a chance to play and come away with a win, I think is a big reason we’ve done well in this whole series.”
If the Red and Blue Wings are to have a chance at making the playoffs, the two teams have to go at it with the same level of intensity.
This is a series that will be close.
Both teams are playing with a lot more confidence and are starting to come together on the ice.
“We’re both a little bit nervous, and we’re both on a little more edge, so you don’t want to get in the way,” said Backstrom, who has scored three goals and six points in his last five games.
“Just having those two guys on the same page helps.”
Game 5 is Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. at Consol Energy Center.