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For the first time in quite some time, the Habs find themselves waiting to
find out who their second round opponent will be.  This time around, the
options are limited with the new playoff bracket format; Montreal can only face
Boston or Detroit.  Who do our writers think is the most ideal matchup for
Round 2?

Simon Aronson: I would prefer to see Montreal face the Red
Wings as I think this will be a more favourable match-up. Montreal does seem to
have considerable success when playing the Bruins, however the Bruins are not
Presidents’ Trophy winners by chance. If Montreal does end up facing the Bruins
in round 2, which is a strong possibility, this may be one of the only match-ups
in the entire league where Montreal does not posses a clear advantage in goal.
Furthermore, the Bruins’ rugged and physical style seems ideally suited for the
playoffs and would likely take a more significant toll on the health of the
Canadiens going forward should the Habs prevail.

I see a matchup vs Detroit as favourable since the Red Wings play a similar
style as Montreal, the Canadiens will not be out muscled, nor have no problem
skating with the Wings. I know Detroit has some potent weapons up front but I
would still give the edge to the Montreal forward group based on their depth and
well roundedness, this is of course assuming that Rene Bourque and Lars Eller
don’t completely disappear in the next round. Although Detroit is not
particularly weak on the back end I think Montreal also posses the advantage on
defence as well as in goal.

Matt Dilworth: On paper, Detroit is the better matchup, but
neither team presents an easy opponent. Despite losing recent playoff series to
Boston, Montreal somehow still seems to get into the Bruins’ heads and that
could affect Boston’s game to Montreal’s advantage. I believe that Mike Babcock
is a better coach than Claude Julien, and with Henrik Zetterberg returning, the
Red Wings might become significantly better than their regular season record
reflects. Plus, for sheer entertainment value, I want to see a Boston-Montreal

Brian La Rose: Detroit.  From a personal perspective, I’m
tired of all the ‘extracurriculars’ that come up every time these two teams
play; I don’t want to hear Boston players and media whining about diving and
embellishment (it already has started)  nor do I need to see any
more rehashing of the Max Pacioretty-Zdeno Chara incident and complaints about
the other sides’ complaints.  We can go a year without this. 
Stylistically, the Habs match up better with the Wings who are a skilled but
much less physical team; if the Canadiens prevailed they’d likely be much
healthier moving into the third round.  I also like the goalie edge that
Carey Price would provide.  Montreal and Detroit haven’t met in the
postseason since 1978, I say it’s about time that changes.

Alex Létourneau: From a matchup perspective, I’d like to see
Detroit squeeze out a tough series win, giving Montreal home ice advantage
against a bruised up team. My selfishness would like to see a Boston series
victory, since Tuukka Rask and Boston’s play against Montreal is generally
subpar. The caveat is that it would most definitely be a physically and mentally
draining series, but one the NHL would love to cash in on. Ultimately, you have
to beat the best to be the best. Bring on the Bruins.

Kevin Meldrum: You always want a Montreal/Boston matchup in the
playoffs, there is no better playoff hockey combo period. This will be an
intense battle nail biting as most games will be decided by a goal with a good
chance of a couple overtime games as well. Montreal does match up really well;
if the forwards play their cycle game it can expose the slow footed Boston
defence but they can not get involved with the nonsense after the whistle, just
let the Bruins take the stupid penalties. This is the hockey we all want to see
and there is nothing sweeter than beating the Bruins, it will be tough but I
like the Habs’ chances. Yes, Detroit would be an easier series with less
physical play for sure but playoff hockey is hockey.

Norm Szcyrek: Detroit. I’m biased because I live across the
river from Detroit. The chance of getting to see some Habs playoff games there
is pretty good. However, the thought of another Boston-Montreal playoff match is
something I look forward to also since the Bruins are the Habs’ biggest all time