The Montreal Canadiens (46-28-8) swept their first series against the Tampa Bay Lightning 4 games to nothing, but this round is going to be a challenge. Carey Price will have to be spectacular, their best player and they’re going to need timely scoring to come out on top. They’re also going to need their power play going and some stronger penalty killing as well, at least on par with the regular season. The Canadiens won the season series 3 games to one with one win coming by way of the shootout.
The Boston Bruins (54-19-9) defeated the Detroit Red Wings in 5 games and started to show why they’re one of the elite teams in the NHL. They play 4 lines and all 4 lines can score, check and hit. They don’t have a weakness and the only way they can be beat is if they beat themselves by turning the puck over and take too many penalties.
#1 Bruins vs. #3 Canadiens
Season series: Canadiens 3-1-0
The full series schedule is yet to be released:
Game One from the TD Garden in Boston is on Thursday, May 1st, at 7:30 PM Eastern Time.
The Canadiens played pretty good hockey against the Lightning but not great hockey. They had some holes in their games, like giving up leads in the third. They are going to have to be perfect in this series if they want to win. Price is going to have to steal at least 2 games if they want to win. He is capable and the team can score goals with the addition of Thomas Vanek.
Some players are going to have to put some points on the board, guys like Vanek, Max Pacioretty and Andrei Markov. P.K. Subban had 5 assists against the Lightning and will need some power play scoring from him as well. This is a tall order for the Canadiens, but if they pull this off Price could carry them to the Stanley Cup final.
Brendan Gallagher led the way with 3 goals and 2 assists for 5 points, Lars Eller had 2 goals and 3 assists for 5 points as well. Subban had 5 assists and the rest of the scoring was spread out amongst the team. Vanek, Pacioretty, Brian Gionta and David Desharnais only had 1 goal each, and they could be better, but the good news is the scoring was spread around and they’ll need that this series.
Backstop: Carey Price was good the first round but he has to be exceptional, and the good news is, he can play better.
X-Factor: Obviously Carey Price, but the Canadiens power play has to be better as does the penalty killing.
The Boston Bruins started slow against the Red Wings but finished strong and it looks like they can’t be beat when everyone’s going. Milan Lucic was a force as was Zdeno Chara. Get through those players and you have to beat Tuukka Rask in goal. This team has no weaknesses.
Brad Marchand had 0 points in the first round and David Krejci had 2 assists which could be a little worrisome but they have so many other players that can score, it’s not a huge deal if they get shut out of the scoring.
Jarome Iginla is playing well as is Patrice Bergeron, Chara and Lucic. The Bruins didn’t have much luck against the Canadiens during the regular season but they didn’t have the best season against the Red Wings either.
Backstop: Tuukka Rask is a star goaltender although he hasn’t won a cup as a starter. But he does have experience having gone to the cup final last year and that will be valuable this playoff year.
X-Factor: The only x-factor I can see is Zdeno Chara, he’s so big and plays so much, no other team has a player like this but when you’re a team that’s this good, you don’t need an x-factor.
Ex-Jets: No ex Jets players and no players from Manitoba.
Prediction Sure To Go Wrong:
I pick the Canadiens to win this series in 7 games simply because of Carey Price again. I think he’s a world class player and he’s rested and hungry to be a Stanley Cup winner. I have no real facts to back it up, I think the Bruins are better on paper and the Canadiens for whatever reason won the season series and the stats show that the Bruins should win this series, but like I’ve always said, stats are for losers. This will be the 33rd playoff series between these two clubs and even when the Bruins were better in years past, the Canadiens were somehow able to win. The overall playoff series is 22-10 for the Canadiens but the Canadiens had 2 dynasty teams in there that padded the stats.
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