The Boston Bruins didn't start the Stanley Cup playoffs on a high note. Yet the Bruins know that finishing in the playoffs is more important than starting, and they took that lesson to heart against the Detroit Red Wings. By finishing their fourth straight win over the Red Wings by 4-2 on April 26, the Bruins became the second team to advance in the Stanley Cup playoffs -- and they will face the first team for their troubles.
Boston is the second team to win four straight games in this postseason, although it followed a shutout loss in Game 1. In contrast, the Montreal Canadiens were perfect from the start against the Tampa Bay Lightning, yet their reward is to next face a Bruins team that has found its footing.
The Red Wings lost their best chance to get back in their series by losing Game 4 in overtime at Detroit. They still put up a fight in Game 5, but Zdeno Chara put the Bruins ahead for good in the final seconds of the second period. A quick third period goal from Milan Lucic put Boston up by 3-1, which held until Henrik Zetterberg gave Detroit one last bit of hope with under four minutes left.
The Red Wings still needed one more goal, but they wouldn't get it, as Jarome Iginla -- looking for his first Stanley Cup at age 36 -- capped the series with an empty net tally. With that, the Bruins moved on over one Original Six opponent, with another one looming in Montreal.
The Bruins and Canadiens have met 33 times in the Stanley Cup playoffs, yet this is their first meeting since 2011. That first round series went down to overtime in Game 7, with Boston prevailing before it stormed to the Cup. This certainly seems to bode well for the Bruins, although this rematch is in the second round.
Boston and Montreal will certainly be the most rested teams of this postseason so far, as every other series has at least been stretched to six games. But by comparison to the Canadiens, the Bruins will return on short rest.
However, even if Montreal gets off to a strong start, Detroit can attest that it may not mean a thing in the long run against Boston.