A 24 Cup Perspective: Montreal Canadiens Only a "Mediocre" Team
When recapping Game One of the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, the Boston Globe's Kevin Paul Dupont did not mince any words. When talking of the visiting Montreal Canadiens, he called them "an average, if not mediocre hockey team."
Dupont also went on to state the obvious: The Canadiens do not have considerable scoring power beyond the first line of Alex Kovalev, Alex Tanguay, and Saku Koivu. On the flip side, the Bruins are able to roll four lines of attack, having six 20+ goal scorers in black and gold.
In no way are the Canadiens of 2008-09 anywhere near any of the dynastic teams of old. They do have goaltending in Carey Price, who was the only player in Game One to show any signs of being in the series as he, at times, kept the Canadiens in the game. Yet, without Andrei Markov and with Mathieu Schneider playing hurt, Dupont called out the Canadiens as a desperate team.
However, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Boston finished 23 points ahead of the Canadiens in a complete role reversal from last season. Boston's great play all season under head coach Claude Julien is perhaps in the range of a Jack Adams Trophy. With the successes of the Bruins this season, they are said to be gearing up for a deep playoff run, and the Canadiens are only the appetizer.
Wait, did the Canadiens keep step with the Bruins in Game One?
The Bruins were in total control through the first period of play, then they stepped back, took a coffee break, and let the Canadiens in through the back door to tie the game at 2-2. Josh Gorges' undisciplined penalty did the same for the Bruins, who managed to capitalize on the mistakes.
That is what will characterize a deep Boston Bruin playoff run: capitalizing on the other team's mistakes.
Either the Bruins will dictate the play and capitalize on their opponents mistakes, or they will be caught napping and lose the play dictation.
As for the series, it has only begun. All may not be rosy in Canadiens nation, but if their last meeting of the regular season and Game One of the playoffs say anything, it showed the Canadiens can keep up with the big, bruising, high-octane Bruins squad.
Anyone remember last year's playoffs? An underdog team took the top seed to seven games.
Yet, Dupont's closing remarks on Game One came as no surprise. "The future's not hard to see for the Canadiens."
"Not like their past."
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