7-Montreal (41-30-7-4, 93 pts) vs 2-Boston (41-19-15-7, 104 pts)
It will be the 30th post-season series between the two Original Six clubs. Montreal is 22-7 so far. If you want to bet 2$ on the matchup, you’ll have an hard time finding an organization accepting it in the U.S.A.. Books are still hesitant to announce the odds, because of the “upper body” *cough* wrist *cough* injury to Joe Thornton and his uncertain status.
Montreal. the key to the Canadiens’ improvement is the return of Theodore to something resembling his play two years ago. that probably had a lot to do with the return of defenseman Sheldon Souray, who missed the previous season after wrist surgery. the hulking Souray brought back his solid defense but added a newfound offensive component, more than tripling his previous highs in scoring. [Complete Montreal article @ NHL.com]
Boston. Gonchar and Nylander joined a talented cast led by Joe Thornton, who teams with Glen Murray and Mike Knuble to form a big, powerful first line that wrecked havoc with the opposition. Both Murray and Knuble have blossomed with Thornton, whose power game suits them perfectly. Murray once again hit the 30-goal plateau and Knuble reached the 20-goal mark for the second-successive season.
[Complete Boston article @ NHL.com]
Key player for Canadiens: Jose Theodore. Theodore, a past Hart and Vezina winner, carried the load in goal for the Habs this season. He was 33-28-54 with a 2.27 goals-against average and six shutouts. But come the playoffs, Theodore remains relatively inexperienced. He is 7-8 with a 2.65 GAA in his Stanley Cup career. Suffice to say, there will be plenty of pressure on his shoulders this time around.
[Matchup article @ NHL.com]
Key player for Bruins: Joe Thornton. the Bruins are concerned by Thornton’s health. Thornton missed the last two regular-season games with a self-described “upper body injury” suffered against the Capitals. He is an integral part of the Bruins’ attack, but Boston still has plenty of skilled offensive players to cushion the blow. [Matchup article @ NHL.com]
Intangibles for Montreal: Alexei Kovalev. Highly skilled and experienced winger will begin the playoffs off the spotlights on the 3rd line. With Dowd and Juneau, they are the 3 players with most playoff game played. Don’t be surprised to see Kovalev jump on the 1st powerplay unit and on a top line on the third period if needed.
Intangibles for Boston: Brian Rolston. the addition of the underrated Nylander allowed Brian Rolston to return to his jack-of-all-trades role as a center, penalty killer and occasional power-play pointman. [Complete Boston article @ NHL.com]
Penalty Kill Percentage
Penalty Kill Percentage
Projected Montreal Lineup
Bulis (4 GWG)
Koivu (3 GWG)
Zednik (9 GWG)
Dagenais (3 GWG)
Ribeiro (5 GWG)
Ryder (4 GWG)
Perreault (31 pts)
Kovalev (45 pts)
Juneau (70 GP)
|Langdon (135 PIM)|
Souray (35 PTS)
Quintal (82 PIM)
Markov (28 PTS)
Rivet (98 PIM)
Bouillon (70 PIM)
Brisebois (31 PTS)
Projected Boston Lineup
Black: Never played in Playoffs — Red: Playoff experience — Bold: More than 40 Playoffs GP
A team is only as strong as its weakest link.