NHL on NBC analyst Pierre McGuire joined Boston Hockey Now scribe Jimmy Murphy to tee up the Boston Bruins-Washington Capitals series and seemed very optimistic not only about the chances of the Bruins beating the Capitals in the first round of the Stanley Cup series but also of the Bruins going deep in the playoffs.
One of the major reasons for McGuires optimism with the Boston Bruins is the health of the Capitals not only presently but from the grueling season, they just experienced with injuries and COVID.
“You also have to worry about the health of the Washington Capitals,” McGuire said. “They have been a team that has been hurt by injury; they’ve been hit hard by COVID. They’ve had different times during this entire 56-game schedule where different players have been hit by COVID and you don’t know what that does to a player or what it does to a team or to the rhythm of a team. They’ve got two very inexperienced goalies and neither one of them has played in an NHL playoff game, so that’s something to pay attention to.”
The Boston Bruins enter the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs as one of the hottest teams and more importantly one of the deepest teams. The Bruins’ top 6 forward group is easily one of the most skilled of the 16 playoff teams.
“Boston has really played well; the acquisition of Taylor Hall, the acquisition of Curtis Lazar has made a big difference.,” McGuire said. ‘The Perfection Line’ really is the perfection line. Brad Marchand should be in the conversation for a ton of different awards, starting with the Selke – Patrice Bergeron should be in the Selke conversation – the Lady Byng conversation, I mean you got a lot of stuff going on there right now in Boston, a lot of good stuff.”
The good thing for the Bruins though is that just as they as they had in their 2011 run to the Stanley Cup and their 2019 run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins have a solid third and even fourth line too.
“I know one thing: you can’t win the Cup unless you have elite depth players,” McGuire pointed out. “I’ll use a case in point from last year with Tampa. When they got Barclay Goodrow and Blake Coleman, it changed the whole dynamic of their team. They were able to move Yanni Gourde from wing to center and he centered Coleman and Goodrow. I did all the games out west in Edmonton and I can tell you right now after they left the Toronto bubble, they were en Fuego! They could not be stopped, that threesome. So if you don’t have depth players and you don’t have depth players participating at a high level, your chances of winning the Cup are not very good.”