Montreal Canadiens: Countdown to the NHL Playoffs

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Montreal Canadiens: Countdown to the NHL Playoffs

With eight games to go, let's take a look at the Habs final challenges before the playoffs. They will face Boston, Ottawa, Buffalo, and Toronto once at home and once on the road.

 

Boston Bruins

If the series had to start today, the Habs would meet the Bruins for the first round.

Montreal won all six games against them this season. The rivalry was at its highest on Nov. 17 when the referees worked full time with the game going out of control!

That night, the Bruins got 56 minutes of penalty, including 25 accumulated by Zdeno Chara only. The Habs followed with 51 minutes.

There was also some action on the benches with Kirk Muller and Guy Carbonneau having a few arguments with Bruins head coach, Claude Julien. For those who can recall, Captain Kirk did not use his nicest words toward Claude Julien!

The game ended with Montreal wining 7-4.

Not so fast in the celebrations though. Just take a look at what happened against the Blues. While most saw two points guaranteed, the result was a shutout loss against a team that had lost its last 10 games!

The Bruins are willing to end this Canadien domination and get their much-needed four points to help in the standing.

 

Ottawa Senators

For some reason, Price is never at his best against the Sens! Oh wait, actually I do have one reason: their first trio.

In his three games against Ottawa, he allowed 10 goals. The scary thing is that Jason Spezza scored four of them, Daniel Alfredsson got six assists, and Dany Heatley recorded two goals and two assists.  

Actually, the only time the Habs won against the Sens, both Daniel Alfredsson and Dany Heatley were on the sideline. Still, the score was very tight and Spezza got two points. Somehow, those guys really scare me!

 

Buffalo Sabres

Ryan Miller is 0-2 at the Bell Center this season. However, Jocelyn Thibault (from Quebec!) registered a shutout against his home team. At the HSBC Arena, Miller is 2-1 against the Habs.

Jason Pominville leads his team with as many points as Alexei Kovalev—that is 74. He is currently doing well with two points in each of his last three games. They have won their last three games, scoring six times or more and are now one point behind the Flyers. With eight games to play, we will surely hear a lot more from them.

 

Toronto Maple Leafs

Carey Price remains unbeatable at the Air Canada Center in two games.

Toronto is coming to Montreal for the last game of the regular season. Last year, the Habs lost 6-5 in the Leafs territory, also losing the whole season as both teams needed a win to clinch the playoff spot.

Colaiacovo has recently been put on sideline due to groin injury, Mats Sundin has not been playing since March 13, and Nik Antropov suffers a knee injury. The Leafs still can count on Thomas Kaberle, among others. He is on a high note of at least one point in ten of his last 12 games.

 

Note: I assume that Price will get to start all these games, however, I sense it won't be the case since Halak needs some time on ice. We'll see how coach Carbo will manage his two youngsters.

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