NHL Playoffs: Montreal Look to Once Again Cage the Bruins

Mark GreenContributor IApril 10, 2008

      Only hours away from the puck drop for the Montreal Canadiens vs Boston Bruins first round matchup, everyone is anxiously awaiting to find out how this series will go. Given the past history of both teams meeting in the post season, we all have an inklin on how this series will go. But before we jump to any conclusions, lets look at the the stats.
     The Montreal Canadiens will take home ice advantage tonight at the Bell Centre as they suit up to do battle against their arch rivals the Boston Bruins. The Habs and the Bruins are certainly no stranger to each other this season, as they met eight times in the regular season, and the Habs took beat the Bruins in all eight games outscoring the Bruins 39-16. To add to this rival, the Canadiens caged the Bruins the last two times they met in the Playoffs and doust their hopes of winning the Stanley Cup.
     With this being said, teams cannot win games without great players. And the Montreal Canadiens certainly have super star power on their side with the likes of Alex Kovalev that led the Habs chipping in 35 goals in the regular season, and is certainly poised to continue lighting the lamp in the playoffs. But wait, lets not forget about the likes of Tomas Plekanec with his 29 goals and 40 assists good for 69 points, and defensive player Mark Streit with 13 goals and 49 assists good for 62 points. These are just three players out the nine players that hit double digits in the scoring column, and help put the Habs first place in the NHL category with 262 goals in the regular season and will likely continue lighting the lamp in post season, just beacause thats what they do best.
       So, now that we see how great the Habs are in scoring, lets take a look at how the Habs plan on keeping the Bruins off the score sheet. At the 2008 trade deadline, we saw Bob Gainey astound hockey fans with the trade of Cristobal Huet to the Washington Capitals. This left a blank stare on many Habs fans and made us wonder, who will be starting goalie between the pipes to close out the season and go into the playoffs? Little did we know, that question would be quickly answered when 20 year old Carey Price raised to the occasion. Price a NHL rookie, which is now dubbed "The second coming of Patrick Roy" has a bright future ahead in his hockey career and confident he can lead his team to the Holy Grail this year and become victorious. Oh by the way, have no fear because the Habs have good karma with riding rookie goaltenders in the playoffs Ken Dryden and Patrick Roy both lead their game to the silver Stanley Cup.
      Also, largely in part of the Montreal's success came from the Power Play. The Canadiens led the NHL with a 24.2 percent conversion rate, and the most gratitude should go to Tomas Plekanec, Andrei Kostitsyn, Chris Higgins, and Andrei Markov who all had 10 power play goals in the regular season. This certainly does no go well for the Boston Bruins with a 78.6 penalty kill percent and a lowly 17.6 power play percent. The Bruins will simply have to tighten up their defense on the pk and keep the Montreal Canadiens from unloading their deadly offense on the pp
     I believe the Montreal Canadiens will once again dost the hopes of the Boston Bruins on winning the cup this year, just because the Montreal Canadiens have a proven track record on caging the Bruins in the previous playoffs. Also, the Habs have more power forwards with strong speedy feet than the Boston Bruins that can not only out race the Bruins but light the lamp like fireworks on Parliament Hill on Canada day.