There's no use asking an NHLer which team he would like to face in the first round of the playoffs. It's simply a waste of time.
A professional hockey player will never tell you that he fears one team more than another. He will never admit to preferring certain match-ups over others. As much as one might poke and pry, today's media sensitive NHLer simply won't give an inch.
This unwillingness to provide bulletin board material often leads to standard hockey answers such as "We're just happy to make the playoffs" and "Any team is going to be a tough challenge". Despite their robotic answers however (ever seen a Saku Koivu post game interview?), they are human. Players do look at the standings and do prefer to play some teams over others.
With a playoff spot all but locked up, all that is left to be determined for the Montreal Canadiens is seeding. The Habs are currently sixth in the East, but are within striking distance of the division title. It's conceivable that the Habs can face any of the other eight teams currently in a playoff position.
The following will rank the most preferred match-ups for the Habs in the first round of this year's playoffs. Only teams currently in a playoff position will be included in the following power rankings,