I understand that with the Canadiens recent struggles, a lot of "fans" are starting to doubt the likelihood of a playoff spot. For argument's sake, let us skip the Jim Mora "Playoffs?!?" speech and assume that the Habs do, in fact, make it to the big show.
I think it may be a good idea to look over the possible match-ups that the Habs may have. I struggle to keep my sanity listening to others speak and write about the team and how lousy they are.
I am a hopeless optimist. I pray that there are others out there like me, for if there are not, nobody will like my article.
I think that logical phrasing would be the smartest way to go about this.
Let's have a look, shall we?
If the Habs finish in eighth position, then they would play the New Jersey Devils.
At least that's the way it's looking right now.
Marty and the Devils look unstoppable and are probably the odds-on favourite to make it out of the East. After breaking the all-time wins record, Brodeur looked like he really enjoyed winning: I have a feeling it's not going to stop soon, either.
The New Jersey Devils are a complete hockey package that is clicking in every which way right now. If you're a Habs fan, you DO NOT want to see this match-up.
Conclusion: Habs lose in five or less. After a poor showing, Bob Gainey resigns as General Manager/Interim Head Coach. I cry myself to sleep, wiping my tears with my Habs blankie.
If the Habs finish in seventh position, then they would play the Boston Bruins.
Now we're talking! I understand that the Bruins are leading the Eastern Conference right now, but quite frankly, I don't care.
Boston's defence is looking irresponsible (even with Zdeno Chara), and Tim Thomas is facing too many shots.
The Bs are 4-5-1 in their last ten games; that translates to a losing record. I want to the Habs to play a team that's been losing, especially if it's the Boston Bruins.
For those of you who don't know, the last time Boston beat Montreal in a playoff series was in 1992. I like our chances.
Conclusion: Habs win in six, and classless people riot.
If the Habs finish in sixth position, then they would play the Washington Capitals.
Right now, Alexander Ovechkin has scored 49 goals. Alex Semin has 70 points in 53 games played. Mike Green leads all NHL defensemen with 61 points. Jose Theodore is their starting goaltender...yikes.
Regardless of all the Caps' offensive fire-power, if I was a fan of theirs, Jose would make me quite wary. He's having a decent season but his numbers are far from stellar (2.81 GAA with a .902 save percentage).
Conclusion: Habs win in seven. Goaltending prevails in the playoffs.
The Flyers seem to be cooling down and the Pens are doing the complete opposite. If they keep playing at the same pace (and the Habs begin winning as I predict), the Penguins will likely finish in fourth position and we would meet them in the first round.
If the league rights itself, the Flyers, a better hockey club, will finish ahead. I'm so confused!
Personally, I think we could beat either team. We have the advantage with our goalies. I know a lot of you like to hate Carey Price, but he is better than M.-A. Fleury, Martin Biron, and Antero Niittymaki. Mind you, Jaroslav Halak is also better than those goalies!
The Penguins have to hope that they can keep the puck out of their defensive zone because the have no one behind the blue-line.
The Flyers have to hope that their defensemen stay healthy because they're also weak.
Conclusion: Habs beat the the Flyers OR the Penguins in six games.
Now bear with me, I know it's not likely but...
If the Habs finish in fourth position, then they would play the Philadelphia Flyers, the Pittsburgh Penguins or the New York Rangers.
A guy can dream, right?
I've already been over the Pens and Philly. But those pesky Rangers...
I have no idea how the Blueshirts have been winning lately. They can't score goals, their defense is awful, and Henrik Lundqvist is shaky.
New additions John Tortorella and Sean Avery seem to be the missing ingredients.
I don't think they can pose a threat in the playoffs, but if they keep winning, they can definitely make it up to fifth position.
I hope that the Candiens end up playing the Rangers in the first round. I think that it's the best-case scenario.
Conclusion: Habs win in five, convincingly.
So there's my hypothetical recap of the Habs potential first-round match-ups. I know that it means nothing right now, but it looks pretty good, don't you think?
Just pray that we don't have to play New Jersey. That would be ugly...