Just wanted to get my mind of the debacle tonight:
Teams in bold have a game remaining
Tampa - 106
Toronto - 103 New Jersey - 100
Ottawa - 102 Boston - 102 Philadelphia - 100
Montreal - 93 New York Islanders - 90
NJ wins & Philly loses: Ottawa's 4th and we play Boston (since we get the tie-breaker on wins).
NJ wins and Philly wins: Ottawa's 4th and we play Philly (Sens win any tie-breaker against Philly too.)
Boston ties: Ottawa's 5th and we still play Boston.
Boston wins: Ottawa's 5th and we play Toronto
If there's one thing you can count on in a Boston series, it won't be overly physical like a Flyers or Leaf series. The winner would still be in decent shape.
You underestimate how rough the Bruins will play in the playoffs. By no means would the series be Philly-Toronoto level, but Boston is a team that likes to grind games out, and if Thornton is healthy he'd lay a pounding on some Sens. I don't think you'd be too battered coming out of it (if you do...not trying to argue the case, just saying there's a possibility...) you'd be a little worse for the wear. Compare that to the potential Leafs vs Habs series and know that Toronto is in a very light phyiscal series (unless Toronto decides to play it rough and tumble) and Toronto (if they come out) will likely not be banged up at all, barring any dirty plays (don't see the Canadiens as a "dirty" team though...they may highstick Toronto alot though...), or just any strange falls, or fluke injuries (Owen Nolan...) Toronto should be fine as long as they win the series. lol
What makes me happiest is that the Sens/Leafs avoid playing against a real rought team in the playoffs, however I think the Bruins are a team that'll easily be beaten, but once beaten will decide to take liberties with your team.
In some sick and twisted way I want to play the leafs round 1.
In a way we will have gotten the we're so tough game out of our way and we can get on with the hockey.
You're not alone. I also want the Sens to play the Leafs in the first round. Last night's game didn't worry me at all. It was just a bad game. I'm not intimidated by the Leafs whatsoever. If Smolenski or Alfredsson had buried those chances it would have been a totally different game. The Leafs got the bounces and the calls, good for them. Also, Domi's legal but cheap hit on Bondra will probably prove to be counter productive, much like his cheapshot on Neidemeyer (I'm too lazy to check spelling). It's blackboard material and will only give the Sens motivation.
I'm not too worried about anyone we face in the first round, I'm sure we could beat any of them.
I'll be honest, my preference is to play Boston. I think Chara could shut down Thornton, who may not play anyways. THornton's shut down, and Murray and Knuble are much less effective. Plus, their defence is big and doesn't move well laterally, Gonchar and Slegr aside (neither studs defensively). Guys like Bondra, Havlat, Hossa, Fisher, White and so on would be able to have their way off the rush with guys like Gill, O'Donnell, McGillis and to a lesser extent Boynton (who's a great blueliner, but if there's one flaw in him, it's his lateral movement of the rush- he had the same problem as a 67). Raycroft wont' steal a series if you ask me, although he won't fold like a cheap suitcase as I've seen some on other boards suggest.
Playing Toronto isn't something I'd welcome if only because they'll be at their best in the first round. They're going to get banged up, and they're going to bang you up. I'd much rather they play Philly (is that even an option?) or even Montreal, and let them wear down a bit, because they'll lose bodies and energy faster than we will.