Senators-Bruins Preview: 3 reasons why the Bruins will win
The Atlantic Division's second-seeded Senators will take on the third-seeded Bruins in the first round of this year's playoffs. Ottawa swept the season series 4-0, though each game was decided by just one or two goals. This will be the first time in the modern era that these two clubs have met in the postseason.
Here are three reasons why the Bruins will take the series:
The Bruins ranked second in 5v5 Corsi For percentage and first in 5v5 Fenwick For percentage, according to Corsica.Hockey. The Senators, on the other hand, ranked 22nd in both categories.
In addition to these advanced metrics, the Bruins will have the edge in the faceoff circle. Take a look:
As you can see, Boston's top three centers have the edge in the faceoff dot. Every faceoff, specifically in the offensive and defensive zones, is crucial in playoff hockey. Boston has the luxury of throwing out Bergeron, the best in the business, anytime they need a big win.
The more faceoffs Boston can win, the less time Erik Karlsson will have with the puck on his stick. That is by far the best way to neutralize one of the best offensive defensemen of all time.
Though there are usually fewer penalties called during postseason play, special teams can still have a huge effect on the outcome of a game. Since the games are so tight, one power play might be all it takes to decide a winner.
Boston owned the league's best penalty kill in the regular season and the seventh-best power play. Ottawa had the 22nd ranked penalty kill and the 23rd ranked power play.
Part of the reason Boston had the league's best PK was goaltender Tuukka Rask's astonishing .887 high-danger save percentage when Boston was down a man.
Not having home-ice advantage shouldn't be a major issue for the Bruins. Their road record of 21-14-6 was one of the best in the NHL this past season.
Furthermore, the club went 18-8-1 once Bruce Cassidy replaced Claude Julien as head coach. With Cassidy at the helm, the club continued their road dominance, going 7-4 away from home.
(Photos courtesy: Action Images)