The 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs are upon us, in all of their delicious glory. We'll be previewing each first-round series this week and providing you with a sugar rush through our poorly executed dessert porn theme. Check out all the previews to find out who takes the ... er, taco.
Ryan Miller's(notes) not here to talk about the past. An Olympic silver medal and a career high 41 wins is nice and all, but accolades in the past two months won't help him beat the Boston Bruins:
"I'm not going to sit here and reflect. Sorry," Miller said this week. "To start reminiscing now, it's going to make for a short postseason. I don't want to do it."
Buffalo makes for an interesting team and a dark horse to come out of the Eastern Conference. They don't have the superstar pizzazz on offense like some of the favorites in the East, but the mix of talent throughout their lineup has been what's brought the team to this point. Oh, and that Ryan Miller guy is pretty good, too.
Facing an old Adams Division foe in the Boston Bruins, it could be an ugly curb stomping about to unfold or, should Tuukka Rask(notes) keep up his stellar play, a drawn-out series that will be decided by which goaltender lets in the last goal.
Buffalo Sabres (3) vs. Boston Bruins (6)
Thursday, April 15 at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m. CBC
Saturday, April 17 at Buffalo, 1:00 p.m. NBC, CBC
Monday, April 19 at Boston, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC
Wednesday, April 21 at Boston, 7:00 p.m. VERSUS, CBC
*Friday, April 23 at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m. CBC
*Monday, April 26 at Boston, 7:00 p.m. CBC
*Wednesday, April 28 at Buffalo, 7:00 p.m. CBC
* If Necessary/JIP: Joined in Progress
A mostly healthy Patrice Bergeron(notes) had a good comeback year, but one of the biggest contributors was 42-year old Mark Recchi(notes) and his 18 goals and 43 points. Marc Savard's(notes) absence was huge and Boston will need someone to step up to take his place at distributing the puck.
Thomas Vanek(notes) (28), Derek Roy(notes) (26) Jason Pominville(notes) (24), and Jochen Hecht(notes) (21) were Buffalo's top scorers, but the production wasn't all top heavy. Depth players like Mike Grier(notes), Tim Kennedy(notes) and Patrick Kaleta(notes) were some of the players to hit double digits in goals for the Sabres. A balanced scoring effort helped Buffalo take leads and finish with a 30-0-0 record with a lead heading into the third period.
takes the cake. Goals are important and the Bruins had a tough time scoring them.
The Bruins were second to last in the NHL in total goals allowed with 191, partly because of their goaltending tandem of Tuukka Rask and Tim Thomas(notes) and partly because Claude Julien's system, and the presence of Zdeno Chara(notes).
Buffalo let in 201 goals this season, good for fourth-best in the League. Rookie Tyler Myers(notes) has been the leader of the blueline soaking up a team-high 23 minutes of ice and potting 11 goals and 48 points.
takes the cake because Chara's shutdown presence can change a game.
Sometimes it's better to have no expectations to keep your mind clear. This is what Tuukka Rask might be thinking as he enters the NHL playoffs for the first time. In the mix for the Calder Trophy, Rask took over the starting reigns from Tim Thomas and helped guide the Bruins to the sixth spot in the East. With 22 wins, a 1.97 goals-against average, .931 save-percentage, and five shutouts, Rask is capable of stealing the series.
You'd think after leading Team USA to the gold medal game at the Olympics that Ryan Miller would be a big fatigued down the stretch for the Sabres. The man who almost delivered a "Millercle" didn't look tired one bit going 11-5-1 post-Olympics en route to career highs in wins (41), goals-against average (2.22) and save-percentage (.929).
takes the cake because if Miller senses even a bit of fatigue during the playoffs, it won't be in the first round.
Your slice of Bruins history: