Do they have a shot?

Realistically, no.

Yes, stranger things have happened – notably in 1971, when the Bruins were even scarier than the Capitals.

And there was the Miracle on Ice, when a guy in plaid bell-bottoms coached the U.S. to an Olympic win over a whole team of Alexander Ovechkins.

In his superb Daily Hab-it blog, my man Arpon Basu outlines some advantages the Canadiens have in this series: playoff experience, the PK, goaltending.

The Canadiens have a puncher’s chance, a term used in boxing to describe the possibility that a hopelessly outclassed fighter will land a punch hard enough to KO the superior combatant.

vwpTj_Z9v-c

The comparison to boxing raises the issue that I think will doom the Canadiens in this series: Size.

Washington is WAY bigger. Apart from Ovechkin, who’s a moose, consider these bruisers:

Jason Chimera, 6’4″, 214

Eric Fehr, 6’4″ 212

Mike Knuble, 6’3″, 223

Brooks Laich, 6’2″, 200

David Steckel, 6’5″, 217

At the trade deadline, Washington general manager George McPhee landed Scott Walker, who’s only 5’10″, 196 but punches above his weight … ask Aaron Ward.

The smallest Washington defencman is Jow Corvo at 6′, 204. Jeff Schultz is the biggest at 6’6″ 230.

Is size the absolute determinant in hockey?

Not necessarily. But it’s important in the playoffs, when the preponderance of goals are scored in the dirty areas, where all but Brian Gionta fear to tread.

A good big team will beat a good small team every time out.

What a good big team will do to a mediocre small team might not be pretty to watch.

I think Bruce Boudreau will try to set a tone for the series by having his guys come out thumpin’.

The Washington coach will get a matchup that pits his big boppers against the defence pairing of Marc-André Bergeron and Andrei Markov. Josh Gorges will take a pounding. So will Jaro Spacek.

(Boudreau will be less concerned by forward match-ups. He won’t tell Ovechkin “If you see Mathieu Darche, get off the ice.”)

Wearing down the Canadiens’ D will open it up for Washington’s skill guys. And then things could get really ugly.

The stat that jumps out at me is 5-on-5 goals: Washington had 213 this season. That’s 81 more – one per game – than the Canadiens scored 5-on-5. In fact, it’s more than the Canadiens’ TOTAL 210 goals.

Maybe the key to victory will be coincident minors. In 4-on-4 hockey, the Canadiens outscored Washington 11-5 this season.

Enough doom and gllom

Upsets happen. That’s why they play the games.

I think Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez will play well.

I’m less confident about Tomas Plekanec. The president of the José Theodore fan club played  alot of minutes tis season, and the workload took its toll – as it did with Roman Hamrlik – down the stretch.

Mike Cammaleri will have to recapture his mojo.

Benoit Pouliot will have to elevate his game and rekindle hope that this highly-skilled but underachieving kid can become an impact player in Montreal.

Andrei Kostitsyn … ah, what can I say about my favourite whipping boy? AK46 was seventh on the team in scoring. MAB, for heaven’s sake, was sixth.

Then there’s Jaro.

If he gets the call for Game 1 – and I expect he will – Halak will be making his 44th start. That’s 10 more than last season.

Make no mistake: Jaro is the reason the Canadiens are in the playoffs.

But let’s not kid ourselves: in three games the Canadiens had to win, Halak was fair-to-crap.

One more sleep.

Prediction: Washington in five.

 

 

 

 

137 Comments

  1. HabFanSince72 says:

    Agreed.

    Dumbest team in the league.

  2. HabFanSince72 says:

    That’s all you do.

     

     

  3. HabFanSince72 says:

    O’Byrne is a bit of a goof though.

    Since Guillaume left, he’s in fact the biggest goof on the team.

  4. Les-Habitants says:

    We have the edge in speed, and I think we can frustrate this team with our team D.  I think OB should be paired with Markov though, for the very reason of providing some physical support to our back end.  MAB could take shifts in as the need requires. 

    Their D is big, yes, but they aren’t exactly known for their defensive prowess.  I’ve seen the Habs, time and time again, play up (or down) to the ability of their opposing team.  As far as matchups go, I think this version of the Habs will fair better against the Sabers or the Caps than they would against the Devils.  We can run and gun. 

    We have great special teams and great goaltending, and I think there might be a saying about how those things in particular is how you win championships.

  5. moonkid says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes to 7 games.

    The last 3 series the Caps played, went to 7 games, and they were the first to face elimination in all of them. (Twice coming back from 3-1). Hopefully they’ll start slow again.

    Having said that, I don’t have huge expectations for the series. If Habs have to go down, I hope they go down swinging.

  6. Tis Himself says:

    It’s nothin’ that Propecia can’t cure!

  7. avatar_58 says:

    Since I’ll never get tired of watching it…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uAZO6bvbET0

     

  8. nick says:

    Hey for all those calling this a blowout for whatever reason…

    MTL has had a pretty injury filled roster the majority of the season… And yet, they still managed to beat Washington 2 out of 4 games. Washington is a hot team. No doubt about it. But I don’t think it’s as one sided as many here do.

  9. Tis Himself says:

    Well, it’s too late to tank now. Might as well just show up and play.

  10. Bob Barker says:

    Crosby is the same height but definitely not the same size. The guy has ridiculous lower body strength. 

  11. notbigbird says:

    I’ll go along with Boone’s Caps in 5, hoping that we might squeak out a game. I expect two blowouts, one in the first game. Among other considerations is tis: a team that has to rely on MAB isn’t in good shape IMO. Having to rely on him messes with either the defence or the fourth line … as well as my nerves.

  12. Jbell10 says:

    Areas we will have to be better then Caps;

    1. Special teams. PK – Tons of blocked shots from Gill, Gorges, Pleks and the rest of the PK crew.

                             PP – MAB and Markov setting up bombs from the point. Pouliot, Gionta causing traffic in front. Pleks, AK, Cammy, Gomez setting up the perimeter.

    2. Goaltending. Halak and or Price must be stellar. Get in Jose’s face as much as possible (Laps can use his big mouth to get Theo of his game).

    3. Forecheck/cycle. Keep the puck moving in offensive zone for as long as possible. Lines 3 and 4 HAVE to be big in their zone to keep the puck out of the Caps Guns hands.

    If the stats show that the Habs bettered the Caps in these areas, I believe it will be going to 6-7.

     

  13. Thomas Le Fan says:

    A shot? Hells yes. Mais oui! Habs in seven.

  14. Will Longlade says:

    Damn, my memory is fading fast. I guess that’s just another nail in the coffin for MAB then.

  15. Chorske says:

    Yep, that’s about right. We’ll win a game, probably early on.

    It’d be nice to be proven wrong, mind.

  16. habinypsi says:

    I’ll be happy if we push it to six games.

  17. 24 Cups says:

    I wonder about the M.A. Bergeron factor in this year’s playoffs. In 2008, Bob Gainey passed on re-signing Streit. This left us vulnerable on the D in terms of the PP (someone backing up Andrei Markov) and moving the puck out of our own end. Once Markov was hurt, we had no choice but to give up a pick for Matt Schneider. Last summer, Gainey tried to rectify the situation by signing Spacek to compliment Markov. The price was high as we had to give a 3 year contract to a player who was already over 35. Markov’s subsequent injury, coupled with Spacek’s poor offensive play, led to the eventual signing of Bergeron. Hey, I have no problem with Bergeron, we wouldn’t have made the playoffs without him (or Metro). However, using him as a specialist leads to two huge problems: we can’t develop a solid 4th line and we now have to limit the ice time of our only physical Dman, Ryan O’Byrne.   Hal Gill and Roman Hamrlik may have the size but they really don’t utilize it in the way that we would want them to in our own end. He’s a forgotten man, but it’s really too bad that Paul Mara didn’t have the year that we had hoped for – his injury filled season really exposed a hole in our D. We can’t win without a shot from the point on the PP, but we also can’t win without having four lines as well as some players who can answer Washington’s physical game. It’s going to take some creative coaching to get around that dilemma.

  18. Will Longlade says:

    To win this series, the small guys who disappear when the going gets tough (Pleks) have to play big and the few big guys we have (Moen, Pouliot, Gill and OB – hope he plays) have to come up big. Hab’s goalies will also have to steal a game or two. 

     

  19. PrimeTime says:

    IMO if the Habs play to their best ability as we have seen against higher up teams many times this year and can take one of the 1st 2 games we have a shot. Confidence and momentum is everything in the playoffs. If we put some doubt in their minds by exposing their D while keeping ours tight we might be able to give  them a scare. A lot would have to suddenly come together but it’s possible. Wash is the type of team we have fared well against this year.

     

    Bipolar or Manic-Depressive Disorder is a disease than can treated.

  20. joeybarrie says:

    I think it comes down to this. We have a 50% chance at winning this series. Two reasons. First, simply put there are two teams and only 1 will win. Second and most importantly, if we comes out hard and play to our potential, we can do it. If we come out soft and play like we normally do, we cannot. It is a 50-50 chance on what team shows up. We have a better defense and goalie than they do. This gives us the advantage, as we have had when we played them all season. However, we are known to have lapses, and they are the number 1 team to take advantage of those lapses. When they do they can score 3-4 goals easily. This is where their advantage lies. Overall they are a better team. HOWEVER, if our goalie plays great, our defense plays solid and hard, and our offense plays to their potential. This series is ours. This is where the bad lies. No matter how great they play on defense, goalie or forward they have the ability to get around it fairly easily. We do not. That’s why i predict we are out in 5 or 6. BUT……….. IN THE END, I BELIEVE WE CAN UPSET.

    We are giving Halak a chance to prove he can STAY number 1.

    We might be giving Price a chance to say, hey it isn’t Halak’s job just yet.

    We are giving our patch players a chance to show they belong.

    I also believe we are giving some guys a last chance on their PRODUCTION. Because they clearly have potential and talent. But in the NHL it isnt enough.

    There may be other teams, but only ONE Club De Hockey…

  21. Aerobiz says:

    Hey Folks,

    Does anyone here have a link to the heartbeat sound that they used to play at the Bell center with the EKG meter running along the Flashboards?

    I need it for a client.

    Any Help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks.

    http://twitter.com/EricWebb24

    “The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.”- Randy Pausch

  22. mrhabby says:

    hard not to agree with you boone. based on logic and reality..habs could get blown out quite easily. in order for us to even win a game or two..everything has to go our way..perfect games have to be played. i would love to see it happen and win the series but just cannot see it.

     i do see the habs playing and fighting very hard. we do have quite a bit of leadership who can provide direction. we should have no pressure on us and play like it. lots of people say size does not matter. while i agree to some extent..in playoff hockey size always matters. time and space are always taken away from the smaller skilled guys.

    iam more interested in the moves that PG will try and execute this summer based on this playoff series and the season just completed.

  23. arcosenate says:

    The Caps’ defense will be exposed, as well as their inferior net minding.

    If Montreal plays as a five man unit, like they are capable of:

    Montreal in 6.

  24. Wops says:

    Please Boone, or anybody else.

     

    Explain to me why is Plekanec tired?

    Crosby plays 25minutes a game and is the same size! Is he exhausted? Do you have the same reflexion with him?

  25. ooder says:

    so john adnerson gets fired and don waddell gets promoted…

    what a stupid management.. it’s the equivalent of keeping sather aruond

    ——————

    “I like what I’m seeing right now,” assessed Markov. “We’re not perfect, but we’re trying to be.”

  26. MikeL says:

    It’s an excuse.

  27. andrewberkshire says:

    Will, I don’t think you’re recalling correctly. MAB had 2 goals and 1 assist in 18 games for the Oilers in the playoffs that year. Spacek on the other hand, had 3 goals and 11 assists in 24 games.

  28. Will Longlade says:

    It will likely revolve around a turtleneck metaphor.

  29. andrewberkshire says:

    Creative coaching? From JM? I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were you, Steve.

  30. Will Longlade says:

    Good post. I too wonder about the MAB factor. What MAB will the Habs get in the playoffs? The one who constantly coughs up the puck whenever a strong forecheck is applied, or the one who helped the Oil reach the playoff finals the year after the lockout (if I recall correctly). IMO, JM’s decision to go with MAB on D smacks of desperation. As many other posters have suggetsed, it’s a high risk, high reward strategy. Lets hope the return ends up being commensurate with the risk. 

  31. Wops says:

    Alright, Datsyuk, Pat Kane, Derek Roy, Richards, Krejci, Zach Parisé, all play the same time or more than Plekanec.

     

    They are all the same size +/- 5pounds.

     

    Why is Plekanec exhausted? Are all those guys too?

  32. Hockey Socks says:

    A lot of inflated stats on the Capitals. Schultz plays 20 minutes a game almost entirely 5-on-5. On a powerhouse like Washington, you’re bound to get a nice +/- jump. It’s pretty ridiculous that Theo is 20-0-3 in his last 23 games, but everyone knows that he himself is really not that good.

  33. Jbell10 says:

    Simple to say, yes.

    Simple to do, no.

  34. avatar_58 says:

    Look at all the cap fans (aka bandwagoners who became ‘fans’ once Ovechkin came along) laughing it up. Wouldn’t it be DAMN sweet if they choked?

  35. Mr.Hazard says:

    So you’re saying a 6’4” Gionta would not be better than a 5’7” Gionta?

    “love cannot drown truth, Nefertiti”

  36. sidhu says:

    Ottawa coming out with a strong start — should give the Habs some encouragement

  37. mbplekfan says:

    Well when 6’2-225lb Ovechkin is bearing down on 6’0-190lb Josh Gorges I have a sneaking suspicion who’s going to get the better of that one.

    Then substitute Spacek or MAB for Gorges and 6’2 215 Semin for ovy and see how that one goes.

    And at the other end of the ice Gionta and Cammalieri can team up and bite the ankles of the Caps defence. When they are done nipping and barking Gomez can step up and whack them in the knees.

  38. HabLion says:

    They all do.  Videotron was the last one with Unlimited data transfer…but they capped it at 100gB’s per month.

  39. Habscore says:

    I know that when Habs really wanna play, they can be dangerous. Hopefully, they bring their A game up.

  40. TorontoHabsFan says:

    Possibly, but is that even remotely the same thing as saying: “A good big team will beat a good small team every time out.”??

     

    Oh wait, I just read your last “point” there…your insight into the game is breathtaking.

  41. light_n_tasty says:

    Here in Winnipeg both Shaw and MTS (telephone co) are unlimited.  The plan rates only differ by speed of connection, not by usage.  For my plan, it’s $35/mo, unlimited usage, 7.5Mbps.  You guys are gettin screwed.  I’m sure you know that.

  42. showey47 says:

    Hope spacek or mab don’t feel the same wrath of semin that marc staal felt.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I01Ncx4VSno

  43. habs-hampton says:

    How can they sit O’B? We need some size back there.

  44. habs fan from stonyplain says:

    Mr. Boone just look up 2006, and as someone who lives in the Edmonton area this team reminds me of the oilers who were one game away from winning it all.  These caps have not been pushed all year, put Moore and Moen on Ovie and we have a shot, we win in seven

  45. Exit716 says:

    The White Out tonight in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.

    How original.

     

  46. Danno says:

    We know it. It sucks

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  47. B says:

    I think it is good that Montreal is starting the series on the road. It is not a big stretch to think they could come back home with a split in the first two games.

  48. Ayan_SB says:

    On the TSN ticker yesterday, I noticed various AHL players called-up by certain playoff teams. So, who will the Canadiens call-up, if anyone at all?

  49. andrewberkshire says:

    I could be mistaken, but I believe the teams who’ve called players up don’t have AHL teams in the playoffs.

  50. Ayan_SB says:

    Ah ok, makes sense, cause it seemed like they gutted their AHL teams with multiple call-ups.

    By the way, how do call-ups work during the playoffs? Can you bring some one up any time during the post-season?

  51. shootdapuck says:

    “Wanna play” or are allowed to play?

    JM stifles the best of this team!

     

    “The three stars as selected by Red Fisher of the Montreal Star:
    1st star: Henri Richard
    2nd Star: Doug Harvey
    3rd Star: Jacques Plante

    Final score Detroit Red Wings 5 Montreal Canadiens 3″

  52. Chuck says:

    If they don’t come back with a split, then they had better have the Ghosts of ’93 on speed dial.

    _____________________________________

    Cheer for the crest on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back.

  53. B says:

    As Stubbs recently posted on this site, they are only allowed one more call up until after the Bulldogs have been eliminated from their playoffs. I suspect they will be careful and save it for in case of injury(s).
    http://habsinsideout.com/main/32261

  54. mbplekfan says:

    MAB, Gorges, Spacek, Markov.

    Four undersized defenceman for the Caps to pound on.  One small defenceman is enough for one team and Markov should be ours. To put four out against a bull like Ovechkin is asking for trouble.

    Unfortunately Mara didnt work out and JM seems to lack trust in OB, but to play these four for the bulk of the minutes is a recipe for a first round four and out.

    We will be dominated in both ends of the ice and physically pounded into the ice.

    Our lack of size has been a big problem for years yet mgmt does little to fix it. Maybe PG will go out and draft some bigger prospects and sign some up and comers.

  55. vaya_ says:

    i agree, but let’s not forget that the capitals have an incredible home record, and the building will be very loud in the playoffs.

  56. Trots says:

    Anybody know who the Leafs have called up…..

  57. TripleX says:

    Playing MAB on the top pairing with Markov where he will be expected to put in monster minutes plus play the PP plus defend against the OVY line is incredibly dumbass.  Play MAB on defense if you must JM but at least play him on the third pair!!  O’Byrne was coming along impressively until JM destroyed his confidence coming into the playoffs just when we could use a BIG man on defense.  DUMBASS!

  58. Degrees says:

    The Capitals’ strength is on the offense, but we have goalies (goalie, really– Halak all the way) that have the ability to make 40+ saves per night. This opponent compliments us very well, and this is seen in our split record during the regular season (despite the fact that the Capitals are overall the better the team, by a LOT). I think it should be a very entertaining series.

     

     

    Although, I must admit, I predict Caps in 4 or 5… :S

  59. captaink4life says:

    I’m sick and tired of all this talk about the SIZE difference between the Habs and the Caps. 

    It’s not how big you are, it’s how big you play. 

    Prediction: Habs in 6

     

    You will always be a Canadien in my eyes, Saku

  60. B says:

    Montreal did split their regular season games in Washington.

  61. The Teacher says:

    Sure, Washington’s D size is HUGE! But how is their speed? Methinks we might have them running around a bit in their own end if we can ever get it out of ours!

  62. The Teacher says:

    Not sure if I’m up to date on this, but I believe playoff callups are unlimited.

  63. forskis says:

    I do not think that OB has his confidence ruined…the team’s chances of making the playoffs were hanging on a thread so JM went with the vets until things got “clinched”….I guess…

    In any case, I do agree that putting MAB on the 1st pairing is silly…MAB is going to get dizzy from all the times he has to whirl around when the Caps blow by him….the only reasoning I can think of is that JM is loading all his offensive “weapons” and going to go all-in with scoring, scoring and more scoring (hopefully)….

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  64. Iceberg84 says:

    I agree to an extent (just ask Ryan O’Byrne how size is working out for him) but at the same time, when push comes to shove (literally) it’s a matter of physics. When a big guy pushes a smaller guy, the smaller guy gets knocked down and that’s what the problem is. The Canadiens might look like competitors for the first game or two, but the fear is that they’ll be battered and bruised from getting hit so many times that they won’t be able to stand up for games four or five.

    My hope says Canadiens in 7, but the realist in me says Caps in 6.

  65. Ayan_SB says:

    Washington Capitals Tom Poti is a nerd. By the way, there’s some bad language in the vid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYQSOrvDtyQ&feature=player_embedded

  66. Ayan_SB says:

    Jeff Schultz is the worst +50 player you’ll see.

  67. captaink4life says:

    F= ma

    :(

     

    You will always be a Canadien in my eyes, Saku

  68. The Big O says:

    I have a feeling this will be a repeat of the Boston series from last year… 4 and out!!  We just don’t have the horses to compete.  Reminds me of the Oilers from the 80′s, sure you can score 5 on our goalie but we’ll get 6 on yours….  would have loved the Sabres instead!!

     

  69. captaink4life says:

    I think drawing the Sabres would have been a lot more depressing because it would’ve gone more like this:

    “Sure you can score 1 on our goalie but we’ll get 2 on yours”

    haha

     

    You will always be a Canadien in my eyes, Saku

  70. Greg says:

    Boone, you must be a lot of fun to watch hockey with. Washington in five? I know you’re a journalist, but come on. I wouldn’t watch a series if I thought my team would be dismissed that easily.

    “I lined up next to him at a faceoff, looked over and said “Hi Rocket”. All he did was growl.”

    -Gordie Howe

  71. Greg says:

    Also I was talking to my roommate about this.  A stat that is needed in the NHL is “Normalized +/-”. Basically normalize a player’s +/- rating to the team’s +/-.  minus players will be plus on a good team and visa versa. Of course everyone on Washington is a plus  player.  If there’s a minus player on that team, man, they must SUCK.

     

    “I lined up next to him at a faceoff, looked over and said “Hi Rocket”. All he did was growl.”

    -Gordie Howe

  72. Danno says:

    Off topic a bit, but I started using a live stream site which is often mentioned by fellow bloggers here. It is ATDHE.Net which allows you to access live sports, movies etc. and especially Habs games. I noticed my internet usage went up dramatically after having used it.

    Normally, I don’t exceed my limit for my service, but this month I am way above. First time ever; and I think it’s because ATDHE.Net really sucks a lot of bandwidth — if that’s the correct term — I am not a techie.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  73. Tis Himself says:

    Jacques Martin would have a hard time coaxing a turd from an incontinent dog’s bum. He couldn’t muster a Herb Brooks-like speech if his life depended on it.

  74. puck face says:

    Mel Brookes speech then?

  75. punkster says:

    Jeez Brian, you gotta find some new material. You’ve floated that brown trout a number of times ;)

     

    No fear of JM delivering any sort of stirring motivational speech but what if this team actually does pull off their own miracle? Who plays JM in the movie? That’s the real question.

  76. Tis Himself says:

    JM wearing a pair of plaid bell-bottoms would speak louder than any words he could utter in the room!

    “To be befuddled by Bruce Boudreau. Oh the horror! Oh the shame!” John Tortarella

  77. ABHabsfan says:

    Washington in 5? I thought this was a Habs’ FAN site. Your realism is a bit of a downer. Habs sweep;  because I always think they can win every game. Blind optimism and copious amounts of beer is what makes the play-offs the best time of year. ( hey that rhymes)

    Incidently, watching Sportsnet Hockeycentral on the day the play-offs start and Kypreos hasn’t stopped talking about the freakin’Leafs. Who friggin’ cares!

  78. Tis Himself says:

    Foster Brooks

  79. punkster says:

    Not sure the plaid pants would go with the pinstripe jackets he wears but what the heck. I’m sure he could find a tie in Carbo’s old collection to go with it…instead of those WalMart styled horrors he wears now.

  80. Tis Himself says:

    He’s going to DEFCON 4 on the system tomorrow night, i.e. four skaters in the crease with Halak attempting to cover the full 24 sq. ft. of net and one forward looking for the big break.

  81. light_n_tasty says:

    Thanks for the reverse jinx there Boone.  Ack!  Did I just re-reverse it?!! We’re doomed…

     

    There, all better.

  82. HUDSONHAB says:

    Too funny and too true.

    That’s how I felt about a NJ match up. Boring, frustrating hockey viewing.

    I would rather get beat by a powerhouse like Pitt or Washington.

    But…. we all know it’s Habs in 5!

    …..Hab4life…..

  83. JasonM says:

    Habs in 6.

  84. BeachHabFan says:

    from your fingertips to martin’s ears…

  85. Exit716 says:

    The frightening thing about this series: This might be the high point of Gainey’s restructuring, given the long term cap consequences and dearth of real impact youngsters in the system.

     

  86. B says:

    It seems funny seeing most of the crowd wearing the same colour shirts as the visiting team. You would think they would wear their own team’s colour, like the sea of red in Calgary.

  87. light_n_tasty says:

    There are still internet providers that limit usage?

  88. light_n_tasty says:

    Just for the record: the biggest player on either team plays for the Habs.

  89. punkster says:

    We don’t need no stinkin’ D4. We got Gill. Wingspan of a condor, speed of a sloth, reach of a giant anteater.

  90. TorontoHabsFan says:

    “A good big team will beat a good small team every time out.”

    Boone, I love ya man, but to quote Eric Burdon…that’s the biggest load of rubbish I’ve ever heard in my life.

  91. Danno says:

    Well not exactly. They just charge a lot more per GB after you surpass a certain level depending on the package. Rogers and others get rich like that.

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  92. Danno says:

    I love that man. Thanks Exit!

     

    “Hey Richard, two minutes for looking so good!”

  93. Josh says:

    All those guys with size and the Habs only physical defenceman in O’Byrne is about to be a healthy scratch come game 1.

  94. habsfan0 says:

    The key in the 1971 upset over the Bruins(aside from Dryden)was Bruins’ overconfidence. In Game 2,several Bruins players were actually seen laughing because territorialy,they had completely outplayed the Habs in Game 1,and were doing the same to them after 2 periods in Game 2.Habs players saw them laughing,and before the Bruins knew what hit them,they lost the series. If Washington goes into this series overconfident,looking ahead to the next round,the same will happen to them.

  95. bigbighabsfan says:

    Haha. I share your pessimism M Boone. But I also share your underlying hope. I’m pretty damn sure that you’ll be as happy as anyone should the Habs pull it off. I’ll be the first guy here to say I don’t know jack if they do …hell, thats a fact whether they win or lose. The three days off and the playoff buzz makes the losing streak and the Halak slump seem like a distant memory. I still think they are going to get creamed but it’s going to feel damn good if they don’t. They are overmatched, but there are a few guys on the team, especially the new additions, that aren’t going to be intimidated by the playoffs and the big bad Caps. I still think that the fact they even made the playoffs is commendable so it’s all gravy to me from here on.

  96. habsfan0 says:

    Then it’s “Houston,we have a problem!”

  97. habsoul says:

    Got to agree with Boone. Caps in 5, maybe 6. There will be some close games, but Washington has too much firepower. 

    All the planets have to align perfectly for the Habs to have any chance to win this series.

    1. Theodore flails while Halak is transcendant.

    2. Habs power play regains its mojo. MAB ‘s slapper helps Montreal cash in on 30-35% of its extra-man advantages.

    3. Cammalleri is Cammalleri once more. 

    4. A hero breaks the Sleeping on Skates spell an evil wizard has cast over Andrei Kostitsyn.

    5. Benoit Pouliot fulfills his destiny and reveals himself to be the next long-awaited Canadiens superstar.

    GO HABS!!!!

     

     

  98. JD_ says:

    “Washington Capitals” -> “Two hassling captain”

    Rarely does an anagram so meaningfully capture reality.

    In view of the Caps’ depth – 7 players with over 20 goals – it might be too much to ask the Habs to double-man the other team’s captain, but the spirit remains the same. OV’s contribution to the sum-of-the-parts well exceeds that of one man and, with that in mind, every one of his shifts should come at a personal price. Rob him of spirit and you rob the team of the largest part of its otherwise non-descript, Bruce Whodreau system.

    Overwhelming OV was Team Canada’s game plan. Worked like a charm.

    (Too bad the Habs aren’t Team Canada. That would be awesome, albeit cap-challenging.)

    In the end, if OV’s allowed to freewheel without concern for his personal safety, if every liberty he takes – and he is going to take ‘em as sure as sugar is sweet - goes unpunished, this series will be over before it starts. Being the underdogs, this is the kind of series cut out for the Habs’ character players, third- and fourth-liners prepared to take that extra step every shift. It’s time for Laps to put up the kind of game that made his season last year. Moen has to refind the form that had him playing stand-out hockey at the beginning of the season. The team’s chippy first- and second-line centers have to be just that. And, at the same time, that slippery slope into the penalty box has to be avoided against the league’s most lethal PP.

    Nobody said it was going to be easy, although Craig MacTavish did give the Habs semi-props on TSN last night. Having said that, MacT played without a helmet over the course of his career.

    Trying to match skills might buy you a one-game series but will kill you in a best-of-seven. Again, even a more-talented Team Canada relied primarily on shutting down OV and Malkin right at the outset of their matchup before going on to crush Team Russia.

    Like gorillas out of the cage.

    Theo’s a delicate flower and needs to be wilted in game 1. Every line has a capable net-crasher. It remains to be seen if Poolio has playoff gonads and is prepared to go back to the style that yielded dividends post-trade and, setting aside Habs goaltending for a moment, the outcome of this series could rest on which of the two AK46′s shows up, Dazed & Confused or The Wrist-Shootin’ Bull.

    Divide and conquer. Nothing else will do.

  99. TripleX says:

    Come on Mr. Boone we both know if the Habs win ONE game that will be a miracle.  This could well be the most one sided series in this years playoffs.

  100. Y says:

    One observation from tonight’s games: Special teams were HUGE

    If the Habs can get that comatose PP back on, and the PK works just as hard as we know it can, we definitely have a chance.

     

     

  101. Hockey Socks says:

    What’s worse? Missing the playoffs two years in a row or being swept in the first round two years in a row?

  102. TripleX says:

    Obviously getting swept two years in a row as this signifies stagnation and continued middle of the pack mediocrity.

    Missing at least might indicate a high draft pick and hopes of renewal in Montreal.

    Watch for Edmonton and Carolina to leave Montreal in the dust in a couple of years.

  103. Habscore says:

    I’ve finally decided to put up my Habs car flag today, now that we’re officially making the playoffs….I really needed this, to put me in the playoff mood, cuz the way we’ve played lately just frustrated me.
    But everytime I would see a car flag in the sreets just got me excited..lol so hopefully, more of us put them on our cars so we can bring back the playoff Fever we once had in MTL….
    Go Habs GO!!

  104. JD_ says:

    Car flags are an integral part of divide and conquer hockey.

    Thanks for the reminder. Heading downstairs to the storage room.

  105. JungleWolf says:

    I work in DC, already have my Thursday tickets and just walked down to the Verizon Center that time and figured I would talk to some scalpers see what they have for
    Saturday’s game.

    Nobody to be seen, Caps Boutique closed, never
    know playoffs starting tomorrow. No Buzz at all.
    Go Habs Go

  106. ds says:

    Hal Gill played for Pittsburgh last year and he & Scuderi shut down the big caps line.  I think MTL would be foolish not to use his experience and pair him with Markov to hold off the big line.  MAB can get some playing time with Georges and keep Hamrlik & Spacek together.  That leaves O’Byrne who can be useful when he isn’t having brain farts, he’s got the size and ability but is he mentally ready?

    Ovechkin gets easily taken off his game, keep Lapierre in his ear through the series eventually he’ll explode take a cheap shot and get suspended. 

     

    Jaro Halak should start all the games regardless of result because Price melts down in the 3rd period.

    The team will get primary scoring but secondary scoring is the major issue.  I would play SK, he is responsible defensively and has much more offensive flair than Pyatt/Darche etc, I thought the Moore/SK/Lapierre line was solid. Keep them as pests, Moore has a nice shot, SK can stick handle, Lapierre is good in both as well.

     

    MTL has 4 lines, over a series that is crucial.  One thing I’d like to see is if Washington takes a cheap shot on MTL’s best players (Pleks, Markov, Gomez, Gio etc), someone on MTL has to retaliate by taking out Ovechkin.  Last year he took out Gonchar with a knee on knee, if he tries something similar he deserves the same treatment matt cooke got. 

    If the team (MTL) is determined we will win this series.  Washington has no heart.  On MTL Gomez, Gionta, Markov, Halak and MAB all want to win.

  107. forskis says:

    Halak, unfortunately has taken his turn in melting down during the 3rd period this past week…if he hadn’t we would not be discussing which games and what situations to put Price in…hopefully Halak has taken the past few days to get himself back as he has in the past…

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  108. forskis says:

    Considering that Edmonton is in the other conference, not really concerned about them…Carolina is already a more consistent team than Montreal, 3 SHG in 64 sec. notwithstanding…

    High draft picks mean nothing if you do not know what to do with them as have been shown by several teams AND they mean everything if you do know what to do as shown by several teams…50/50 chance of success, I think…

    Depends on what the Habs do in the off-season…remember when the Habs got Gomez and the Rangers got Gaborik and everyone thought that the Rangers were VASTLY improved over the Habs and they got fleeced?  Having Gaborik and his 40+ goals did not get them over the hump…guessing what is going to happen in the future with draft picks and the moves of other teams is just shooting in the dark.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  109. TripleX says:

    After waiting this long in the desert, a 50/50 chance of success sounds awfully enticing.  Just sneaking into the playoffs by the backdoor followed by a quick exit is not my idea of progress.

  110. keepthefaith says:

    Sorry to ruin the doom and gloom party.   Habs in 6.

  111. The Big O says:

    A little off topic…but guess Boucher has Habs fans all figured out already…check out his response when talking about Subban and the big club… umm, how many young players have we done this to already…??

    Boucher says Subban will be back with the big club.

    “We always want heroes and we want them fast, and the problem is that we kill them many times,” said Boucher. “I don’t know when he’s going to be ready, but obviously he is one of those guys that has some tools to be looked at.”

    http://www.thehockeynews.com/articles/32921-PK-Subban-learning-when-to-pounce-with-Hamilton-Bulldogs.html

     

     

  112. Jbell10 says:

    This win would be no miracle on ice…

    The Habs a very legitimate shot at this series, it comes down to goaltending. Bottom line.

    If Halak can save 40 out of 42 shots, its an even playing field and the Habs are going to win games, there is no doubt about it. Yes they have big D but we have quick energized forwards who can pounce on turnovers. This will not be a blow out. Our first line (of dwarfs)  has a combined 3 stanley cup rings…how many does Washingtons 1st have?

    MAB is going to net a bunch of One T’s on the PP agaisnt THE-OPEN-DOORE.

     

  113. nick says:

    I’d say after the last 3 games, Halak’s leash has gotten a little shorter. Personally, I’d say win and your in, loseand you sit until the other guy loses.

    If MTL’s forwards and D decide to show up and stick around for a couple games; MTL in 6.

    If MTL plays like they have the last 3 games…. Washington in 2 :P

  114. Jbell10 says:

    Ya I agree with the leash shortening. I hope  Martin doesnt hesitate to throw Price in the pipes if things arent going Halaks way.

    I would give Halak the first 2 no matter what, it might take a game for him to get comfortable and get that 1st post season W. Although I believe he will be plenty comfortable come puck drop.

  115. mjames says:

    To answer your question, the Habs have no shot. Although I hope for a different outcome, the Caps should finish the Habs in four. I think the Canadiens are a relatively good team and could perhaps give the Caps are run if they played to their potential. I do not see this happening as Martin has demonstrated an inability to get the max out of his players. In my opinion, part of a coach or manager’s job is to motivate his team/employees. His handling of players such as the K brothers has been atrocious. You can say what you want about the Brothers but they have skill and can contribute to this team. The question is how you motivate them. Martin’s motivational technique has been to dump on them, scream at them, demote them, bench them, etc. After 82 games, we have seen that this does not work. I really believe the biggest difference between these two teams is the coaching. Boudreaux is lights out compared to Martin. Boudreau style is to adapt his system to his players’ skill set. Martin style is to have his players adapt to some imposed system.

    I can just see Martin coaching Peyton Manning. Martin would want a ball-controlled game. His would force Manning to run the ball and if he did not he would bench him.  

    mjames

  116. punkster says:

    I’m excited.

    In spite of all the articles, comments, blog opinions and prognostications it’s difficult to stay positive about our chances. According to many we’re too small, can’t score, have weak defence and suspect goaltending (recently).

    Now consider this: this many times have we seen a top-seeded team choke in the opening round? Maybe their physical play draws too many penalties. Maybe their big players slack off a bit or are effectively blanketed by close checking. Maybe their defensive corps plays down to its billing. Maybe their goaltending is simply not good enough at the right time.

    We’ve seen this before and we have even been victims ourselves in the past.

    So yes, I’m excited. It’s the playoffs.

    Go Habs!

  117. Jbell10 says:

    Yup.

    Remember what Greene did in last years playoffs?…I dont…

     

  118. forskis says:

    Another David vs. Goliath series…WHATEVER…

    As far as I can remember, the Habs have been in THREE David vs. Goliath series in the 2000s…all against Boston, the two in the early 2000s when Boston was supposed to steamroll the Habs for the same reasons the Capitals are supposed to steamroll the Habs and the Habs beat them in back-to-back series…and then last season when Montreal got steamrolled by the Bs…

    So for the 2000s, the Habs are 2-1 in David vs. Goliath series….sorry, despite all the stats and what everyone thinks…I believe the Habs prevail in an ugly 6 or 7 games….anything less and it will be a Capital Playoff Choke.

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  119. Trots says:

    I think we have seen over the years, that anything can happen in a 7 game series. Playing the same team every night, you develop a better understanding of their tendencies and make adjustments. I don’t think the Habs can win this series, but I have seen them win so many series when they were underdogs, that I never give up hope.

    Cheering for the Habs – it’s in my blood.

     

  120. forskis says:

    Have you forgotten?  These are the Habs…”his last few games” is all they ever get judged on…LOL…

    “You scored 50 goals this season, but nothing in the last three games…sorry but you suck NOW…”

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  121. Steve in Kingston says:

    FOUR-AND-OUT.

    Next Wednesday, the day of game-4, see Capitals-jersey-wearing fans carrying brooms into the Bell Centre.

    Plain and simple: I do not think the Habs deserve to be in the playoffs.  In the West they would be tied for 12th, or worse.

  122. forskis says:

    Are you implying that 7th place Philadelphia are more deserving even though they have the same number of points?

    “I am guilty of using elipses…”

  123. PrimeTime says:

    Well then I guess you just quite understand how it works.. Maybe when everything is just the way you want it to be then you’ll be more satisfied…Good Luck with that.!

     

    Bipolar or Manic-Depressive Disorder is a disease than can treated.

  124. SeriousFan09 says:

    Pleks battling his hip injury has dogged him for a while, been better in his last pair but the Pleks of the 1st half? Not so much unless Cammy and AK really light up next to him it’ll be hard to say he’ll be the team’s best centre in the playoffs with Gio/Gomez likely to make a few things happen.

     

    - I shall always remember Captain Koivu.
    http://habsandhockey.blogspot.com/

  125. Exit716 says:

    Hmmm. Ottawa beats Pittsburgh…

    What about tomorrow night.

    Oh, wait…..

    Our brain trust and scouting and coaching are from the original Senators that can’t win crap in the playoffs.

    What time is Survivor on again???

  126. saskhabfan says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g04aCp3ej-I&feature=related

    Leafstv “telling their fans they deserve to win for over 40 years”

  127. Big Bird says:

    The team will probably get knocked out in 5 games.  But no one thought we had a snowball’s chance in hell of making the playoffs.  And when Markov went down everyone thought the odds were even worse.

    I’m glad this team proved everyone wrong and made the playoffs.  I’ll enjoy every game and if they take one or two from the Caps even better.  

    Having said that – for the first time ever – I did not choose a Hab in my hockey pool.  I do hope they prove me wrong.

  128. BeachHabFan says:

    i share your blend of satisfaction and pessimism. we were goners after game 1, now we’re at the dance, and i’m going to enjoy the games without the horrible pessimism of last year’s collapse or unexpected optimism of 2008.

    i think the only way they win anything is if they play a simple game, a road game every time. make sure semin, backstrom, and fleishman get smacked at every opportunity. make ovie shoulder the burden and hope he cracks. crowd theo and piss him off. shoot shoot shoot and see what happens. when they played the caps during the season the games were pretty tight in terms of man-to-man play and keeping stuff on the periphery; i think ovie will change that for the playoffs and if the habbies don’t forecheck and crash the net, they won’t have a chance.

  129. Go Habs Go Theme Song Guy says:

    Fearless prediction, number one in an undoubtedly hastily readjusted series:

    Habs in 5. 

    Theo melts down, Halak rocks, Cammaleri remembers how good it feels to score, Gionta and Gomez click, Ovechkin smashes a busload of sticks in frustration, Gill  doesn’t fall down, Pleks is not a little girl, Sergei sneers and scores like a demon, Andrei snipes, MAB gets her done on PPs, Lapierre pulls the odd sneaky, Gorges is steady like the rock of Gib-frigging-braltor, Markov is a god and the city goes totally insane. 

    Don’t wake me up….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDOW6KofuLo

  130. doug says:

    Jeckyll or Hyde? Tune in tomorrow. Caps in 5.

  131. Scott in Montreal says:

    2x post

  132. Scott in Montreal says:

    The habs will win if everything falls perfectly into place. it likely won’t; but regardless, it should be an exciting series

  133. danglesnipe says:

    If they are to win one game as mr boone predicted let it be tomorow. i’m there sec 113.

     

  134. Steve in Kingston says:

    No.

    The whole bottom-half of the Eastern Conference is a mediocre mess of teams that do not deserve to be in the Post Season.

     


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