And so, the Bruins.
Not the most desirable first-round opponent. I think your Montreal Canadiens would have matched up best against Pittsburgh or Tampa Bay had the Penguins or Lightning made the top seeds.
The Canadiens play well against fast, highly-skiled teams – the Chicago game providing the latest evidence.
Big bruisers? Not so much.
Big bruisers who have shaken their inferiority complex and think they can beat the Canadiens?
Arpon Basu’s analysis suggests recent record goes out the window in the postseason.
Let’s hope so.
Here’s how I see the Habs and Bs.
Goaltending: Even. Carey Price will be playing under the long shadow of Jaro Halak’s playoff brilliance a year ago. But I think Tim Thomas is the likelier to crack, especially against the Canadiens.
Defence: Even again. The Canadiens have no one to compare to Zeno Chara. Boston doesn’t have an offensive threat like P.K. Subban. I think Jacques Martin will have to dress Paul Mara, who’s been surprisingly good, against Boston. And he’ll probably lean toward Jaro Spacek over Brent Sopel.
Forwards: The Canadiens have no answers for David Krejci and his big, talented wingers, Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton. But the Bruins could have trouble with the speed of Tomas Plekanec, Michael Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn. Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta, as Basu noted, have Stanley Cup rings. Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron don’t. I fear the Bruins have an edge with their third and fourth lines – unless David Desharnais plays light-out against a big team and Benoit Pouliot magically comes to life. And the Canadiens have no analogue to the wrecking crew: Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton and Daniel Paille. I give the edge up front to Boston.
Special Teams: The Canadiens power play has prevent goals at an 84.4 per cent rate. They’ve scored on 19.7 per cent of their power plays. They are seventh in the league in both categories. Boston’s PK is 82.6, 16th in the NHL, and its PP 16.4 for 20th. So big edge Canadiens, right? But the Habs have taken 363 minor penalties this season, second only to Pittsburgh’s 369. Boston is sixth best in the league, with only 291 minors. The Bs are more disciplined and they commit fewer pussy-ass stick fouls because they win more puck battles. The Canadiens had 35 major penalties to 73 for Boston, but that kind of stuff tends to disappear during the playoffs. The Canadiens have to stay out of the box in this series.
Coaching: Even. Both JM and Claude Julien are solid, unhysterical types who preach defensive hockey. I don’t know how much Knute Rockne Martin has in him, but “Win one for Max” may be an effective motivational tool … although the last time the Canadiens tried to win one for Pacioretty, they lost 7-0.
Ghosts: Clear advantage for the Canadiens: Ken Dryden, Don Cherry and the Too Many Men call, José Theodore. And fresh in the minds of the Bruins and their sicko fans is last year’s epic fold against Philadelphia: up 3-0 in the series, then 3-0 in the seventh game only to see it all fade away. That’s brutal, and let’s hope the God of Hurt has some more for them.
TV Commercials: Big edge to Boston.
Thursday and Saturday in Boston.
Game Three could be Sunday at the Bell Centre, which would be a very tough schedule against a physical team.
Here’s a playoff pump-up that video scout Jarred Friedman found:
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Creative Comment from BoomBoomMax:
So we’ll be facing the Big Bad Bruins comes playoff time. Whether or not, this is a good match up for us, only time will tell… One thing is for sure, giving that scenario, the Boys will need to, some how, erase the past few meetings from their collective memory if they are to have any success against those Brutes. In all fairness, we have to admit it has been a grim affair the last 3 times the 2 teams have met… The worst coming by way of Max being taken off the ice on a stretcher, the result of a careless hit, well after game 5 had been decided.
If I may, yet again, use a metaphor… I feel the Habs need to pull off some kind of a “Back to the Future” stunt on those guys to actually regain the upper hand in the rivalry… Somehow, Biff (the Bruins) has been using his Bully credentials to great success for the better part of the latter leg of the season series between the 2 teams. Basically, I feel like the CH has been Bean Town’s George McFly as of late… It is time for George to punch back, but given my tremendous respect for the game, by no means, am I hoping for violence. I just hope we can outplay these goons…
Keeping in mind Zemeckis’ Classic…
Realistically, I doubt that George being hit by Lord Stanley’s car is going to prevail this time around… As much as I enjoyed last spring’s unlikely run, I fear that Montreal might not always fall on Lady Luck’s side of things as the second season comes around. Don’t get me wrong, we played some wonderful hockey last spring but I can’t help but feel les Glorieux could of easily been out of the Great Race, had Semin connected with twine rather than metal during last year’s first round. Let’s all be honest here, the guy was all over the ice but just couldn’t buy a goal… But hey, that’s why they play the games!
Anyways, far from me, the intention of underrating a very good hockey team… I do like our chances. I just really hope Jacques finds a way to level the table, because it sure seems to be tilted, Boston’s way. Sadly, coach Marty doesn’t own a time traveling Dolorean, but if we are to advance past les “Bruns”, he will need to find a way to regain the past MOJO… I believe he can and will!