The Montreal Canadiens have clinched a playoff spot and despite being blown out in recent games, will still likely earn home-ice advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. Beyond that, little is certain.
Will goalie Carey Price bring his A-game, or will he put together an epic fail of a performance? Will the Habs be able to continue scoring seemingly at will, or will the team’s offense dry up like the last of the snow come the spring?
Finally, perhaps most significantly, at this point the Habs don’t even know whom they will play. The Toronto Maple Leafs seem like a good possibility, but that’s only if the Habs finish in fourth, and even then, it’s not guaranteed.
The Ottawa Senators, New York Rangers or Islanders, Washington Capitals, Winnipeg Jets and even New Jersey Devils are still potential first-round opponents of le bleu, blanc et rouge. While Montreal would still be favored against any one of those teams, some would pose greater challenges than others.
Here are the top five teams that Montreal shouldn’t want to face in the first round and the reasons why: