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Sports

April 26, 2014

On Hockey: Special teams, skating that drove Bruins by Detroit should help against Montreal

(Continued)

Skating also drove Boston over Detroit, a team that was said to have all kinds of speed coming into the series. The Wings do, but Boston was able to neutralize it by slowing things down in the neutral zone and by showcasing strong skating. Being a good skating team means more than simply being able to skate quickly, and that which worked against Detroit could also translate against Montreal.

"We were pretty good skating team as well and if we played really good and tight on them and not give them too much space out there we should have a good chance. I thought we did that," Eriksson said of the speed game against Detroit.

Compared to Detroit, Montreal doesn't have the top-end talent of a Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg, though Thomas Vanek has been a Bruin-killer over the years and Tomas Plekanec is underrated. Montreal's young, speedy forwards like Max Pacioretty and David Desharnais have much more experience than Detroit's Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tator, neither of whom showed much against Boston.

In net, Carey Price had a good season and won an Olympic gold medal with Canada. His playoff career save percentage is .905 (.904 in the first round sweep), as compared to .919 for Detroit's Jimmy Howard, who wasn't a problem for Boston (two losses despite a .931 series save percentage) and missed the last two games with illness.

After the Game 1 loss to Detroit, Boston possessed the puck more than their opponents. They decided where and how the game would be played, and if they do so again in the next round the results should be similar.

"I think we were able to fight through and start playing our game and dictating the pace. A lot of people were talking about what kind of pace this series was going to be, and I think the most important thing was that we were able to dictate that," said Lucic.

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