I believe I am not alone among other fans, the media and the Montreal Canadiens themselves when I say that we just lucked out in round two.
The Philadelphia Flyers have just defeated the Washington Capitals in overtime in game seven of that series to advance to the Eastern Conference semifinals, where they will meet that Habs who just came off a game seven of their own.
Why should all pro Hab fans want to meet the Flyers instead of the New York Rangers? Let me count the ways!
First of all, let's state the obvious. The Habs would most like to match up against the Flyers, who have just recently come off a lengthy series. The Rangers have been resting and healing their wounds since they disposed of the Devils on April 18.
The Flyers will have only Wednesday to reflect upon their overtime win in Washington, but they will be back to business on Thursday as they will meet the Habs in Montreal for games one and two.
The Habs dominated the Flyers during the regular season winning all four games and outscoring the Broad Street Bullies 15-6 in that stretch.
If you are wondering about the Rangers' record against the Habs this year, they manhandled Carbo's Canadiens three games to one, outscoring them 18-13. The only game the Habs had won, you will remember, was the incredible 6-5 overtime win that saw the Canadiens mount a comeback after being down 5-0.
Speaking of that 6-5 win, while it did add extra zip to the young Canadiens' players' confidence level, it was at this point of the season that the Rangers took this lesson to heart and won the next four games en route to seeing their star players finally come together to form an elite team that I believe no one wants to meet.
If you don't believe me, ask the New Jersey Devils.
The Habs have Carey Price, and I believe he is turning a lot of naysayers into believers. At the very least, the Boston Bruins left the Bell Centre Monday night with a newfound respect for the young goaltender.
If the second round series comes down to a goaltending battle, would you rather face Martin Biron, a goalie with limited, to say the least, playoff experience, or Henrik Lundqvist, a 2007 Vezina Trophy candidate who just ousted a fellow nominee in Martin Brodeur from the playoffs?
That's what I thought.
As well, the Habs' speed is no match for the Flyers' style of play, whereas the Rangers' style is more akin to that of the Canadiens. They have proven that they were up to the task if it was a goal contest that the Habs wanted.
Good news for the Habs is that this is not a wish list, it is reality. The Flyers, ready or not, will be in Montreal on Thursday night. If we are really lucky, perhaps Guy Carbonneau will keep the new line-ups he set up in game 7.
I'm speaking, of course of the Koivu-Kovalev-Higgins and Plekanec-Kostytsin-Kostytsin lines that seemed to be approved by all, players and fans alike.
Hey, if all else fails, we have one secret weapon the Flyers don't: Coach Carbonneau's lucky tie!
Habs in six.