The topic of discussion of Boston sports media recently has been whether or not the Boston Bruins should sweep the Carolina Hurricanes or delay it for a few more days. There’s a long time between Game 4 and the start of the Stanley Cup Final. Extending the series has has emerged as the better option for some media members and fans.
Letting the Series Go Longer
The argument made on the side that wants the series to go longer is that if the Bruins sweep, they will likely be too rested for the Stanley Cup Final. It looks like the San Jose Sharks and St. Louis Blues series could go a full seven games, but it will go at least five.
Last year, the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning went to a Game 7 on May 23 and was the last game of either Conference Final. Then on May 28, the Stanley Cup Final began. The scheduling bought both teams a period of rest, but the Vegas Golden Knights surely had more time after winning their series against the Winnipeg Jets 4-1.
The argument that the Bruins may be too rested for the beginning of the Stanley Cup Final if they sweep the Hurricanes is solid — especially with what could be over a week of rest.
Finishing the series in Four
In a perfect world where we can pick and choose what happens, it’s probably a good idea not to sweep with such a long time in between games. However, anyone who knows sports, and how the unthinkable can always happen. Letting Carolina win Game 4 on purpose is giving it an invitation to come back into the series.
This is basic sports math. However, if a team drops one game on purpose, it’s one step closer for the trailing team. And letting them grasp momentum in a situation they cannot lose will only push them further. Even if the Canes rally and win some games, they will have caused some disturbance in the Bruins lineup.
Saying that the Bruins should control their own fate by dropping Game 4 suggests that the Hurricanes aren’t a team capable of winning. However, Carolina has beaten Boston before. The attitude that the Bruins can do whatever they want with the Canes has the opportunity to backfire.
It really shouldn’t have to be said that the Bruins need to close out this series now. They obviously have the upper hand and mathematically, they can lose the next three games and still be alive. Patterns we’ve normally seen in the post-season have been tossed aside. Four Wild Card teams advancing to the second round, a series lost on one three-goal major penalty and the top team in the league being taken down in four games are things don’t normally happen in the playoffs. There is a possibility that the Hurricanes don’t go away easily.
People need to step back and look at it this way. Being too rested for the Final is far better than being drained or not being in it at all. Think of the rant Don Cherry will go on if the Canes get swept as another reason.
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