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Montreal Canadien Brendan Gallagher gets checked by Boston Bruin Andrew Ference.
Comparing the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens reveals a very disturbing trend. The Bruins have got size to their advantage, better coaching, better goaltending, better defense and for all intents and purposes, the same amount of scoring depth as Montreal.
The only advantage Montreal has is on the power play (20 percent vs. 15.8 percent), and while that’s a significant difference, all comparing each side’s special teams does is open the Habs up to more unjustified criticism—yes, they do draw a lot more penalties (and of course, the fact that Boston has the way better penalty kill at 92.2 percent).
Really, all things remaining equal, there is no reason why the Bruins can’t win the Northeast Division this season over the Habs. I mean, they even have one game in hand and yet, still have fewer sets of back-to-backs the rest of the season for crying out loud.
As such, what possible advantage could the Habs possibly have over their longtime rivals? Well, for lack of a concrete argument, how about a few intangibles? Namely the fact that, despite Boston’s best efforts, the Bruins have been unable to shake the Habs so far this season and in fact, trail them in the standings.
This with, really, just over a handful of games left in the season and two specific dates to keep in mind: Wednesday, March 27 and Saturday, April 6.
Those two head-to-head matchups could conceivably go either way, but the simple truth is all Montreal needs to do from here on out is keep on winning, and they’ll secure themselves of the Northeast division for the first time since 2008—everyone remembers how that season ended for the Bruins: not well.
Admittedly, no, it didn’t end so hot for the Habs either (unless you count the burning cars resulting from the riot after that first round), but in the Habs’ defense: The Philadelphia Flyers probably won’t make the playoffs this year.
Maybe not the best defense out there as to why a team led by Alex Kovalev didn’t win it all, but the Flyer’s inability to string two wins (or saves) together does make it more possible—however slightly—that Montreal does just that this year, and then, yes…celebrates with another riot.