( Above Photo Credit: Real Sport .com )
By Spencer Lindsay
Follow me on Twitter @suspenceful9
The Boston Bruins took Game 1 in Ottawa on Wednesday night Vs. The Senators by a score of 2-1. In a game where the Bruins went close to 25 minutes without a shot on goal, that’s pretty fortunate, to say the least. But as we’ve seen all season, it doesn’t matter how it just matters how many.
The Bruins now only need to win three more games to take this series against Ottawa, something they are completely capable of doing. I’ll go so far as to say that they will do it. Do you want to know why? The 1-3-1 system that stymied the Bruins the entire regular season (0-3-1 season series against Ottawa this season), is going to end up being the downfall of the Sens in this series.
In the regular season, the reason Ottawa was able to have such success against the Bruins was because the 1-3-1 system was so radically different than any other team the Bruins faced, that it was difficult to focus on how to beat it. Couple that with the fact that the Bruins roster is not nearly as talented as the Washington Capitals roster (sorry to burst your bubble) and that will most likely lead to a loss.
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Teams like Washington, Pittsburgh, Columbus, etc. are able to beat the 1-3-1 system because they have the talent capable of doing so. The reason the Bruins will be able to beat it in the playoffs is that they have an extended look at it. In practice, they are specifically focusing on plays designed to limit the effect of the neutral zone trap, the minds of the team are all focused on beating the trap. Whereas in the regular season, it’s hard to change your style all of the sudden, for just one game.
Also, it’s important to remember that the team the Bruins beat in the Eastern Conference Finals in 2011, was the Tampa Bay Lightning (coached by Ottawa’s current coach, Guy Boucher). And that Lightning team was drastically more skilled than this Ottawa team.
The key to beating the system is to not allow Ottawa to get into their trap. This is done by quick passes through the neutral zone, or speed carrying the puck through the neutral zone, two things the Bruins possess. The Bruins were the second-best possession team in the regular season, behind only the Los Angeles Kings, and therefore are perfectly capable of beating this system. Add in the fact that Charlie McAvoy seems to have lived up to his hype (at least through one game), things look pretty good for the Bruins.
I mean, we saw Wednesday night! Once you get into Ottawa’s defensive zone, they’re not that good… take a look at both goals the Bruins scored and the sequences that lead to them.
Here you see multiple instances of Ottawa being unable to clear the puck, and then getting caught puck watching.
Then take a look at Marchand’s goal…
Granted, both teams had been on the ice for a long time and were certainly gassed, but again, the Bruins took advantage of Ottawa’s inability to clear the zone and to have consistent pressure defensively.
Ottawa is a team that scores most of their goals off of mistakes made by the other team while trying to navigate through the neutral zone trap. As long as the Bruins play their game, and don’t fall into the trap Ottawa has set, we should be looking at a second-round date with either the Rangers or the Canadiens.
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