Boston Bruins-Montreal Canadiens Playoff Preview
For the 200 billionth time, the Montreal Canadiens will be facing the Boston Bruins in the first round of the playoffs. This year, a role-reversal has taken place, where the Bruins are the #1 seed, and the Habs #8. With the Habs’ season almost ending without a playoff berth, many are assuming that the Bruins should have an easy time quickly disposing of the most storied NHL franchise. Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
Up front, the Bruins have unparalleled depth at the pivot position. Their top three centres include Savard, Krejci, and Bergeon, while the Habs have an aging Koivu, the inconsistent Plekanec, and… that’s about it. The x-factor among Hab forwards will be Alex Kovalev. Which Kovalev will show up exactly? The Kovalev who has been a dominant force during previous post-season runs, or the one who exaggerated being slashed on his hand, coughed up the puck, and allowed Glen Murray to score an uncontested goal during overtime? With other offensive power coming from Kessel, Ryder, Recchi, Wheeler, and Lucic, the Bruins have the edge in the scoring department. Tanguay and the Kostitsyn boys are good, but not great.
On defense, the Bruins boast a solid top group in Chara and Wideman, but nothing too spectacular after these two. For the Habs, Komisarek, Hamrlik, Schneider, Bouillon, and Gorges are probably better defensively overall, but not offensively. The loss of Markov absolutely kills the Habs’ powerplay, somewhere the Bruins have an edge from the back end.
Between the pipes lies an interesting storyline. On one hand you have an older, extremely dedicated Vezina candidate, just starting to make a name for himself. On the other hand, you have a young, over-confident player that may have been rushed into the spotlight too early and calls smoking five cigarettes at one time a hobby. At the moment, the Bruins’ Thomas has the edge, but the tide could turn if Price gets hot.
Overall, the Bruins’ offense (especially on the power play), should be the difference maker. As we all know, special teams is always of upmost importance come playoff time. The Habs may have a chance if Price catches fire and steals the series, but the likely outcome will be the B’s heading to the second round and Price heading to Crescent St. for a smoke.
Bruins in 6.