Saturday, March 27, 2010

Morning playoff check-up

A lot of Montreal Canadiens fans fear the New Jersey Devils and Martin Brodeur, to the point a first round playoff match-up with them may as well be akin to not making the playoffs at all. Yes, the Devils are a formidable machine, a system-driven organization that continues ticking no matter which quality players leave or go down to injury. It never changes.

The Canadiens, on the other hand, have been defined by change the past nine months. New players, new coach, new general manager, new owner. It’s a team that is starting to understand the system of it’s coach, one that has the blessing of the new GM but of few of the fans who are still wondering why Andrei Kostitsyn and Mike Cammalleri were sent on the ice in Buffalo to protect a late-game one-goal lead.

But I don’t feel a series with the Devils would be such a fait accompli. The Canadiens beat the Devils in Jersey in their last meeting 3-1 on Jan. 22, and who knows what a fully healthy lineup will be capable of tonight? A win would serve as a huge confidence boost for a potential first round match-up, because if the doubts of the fan base and media rae any indication, perhaps the players themselves wonder if they can beat this team four times in seven games as well.

Other games tonight include the Flyers facing the Penguins, but otherwise it’s a night of spoiler games, though Calgary should be pretty desperate for a win in Boston. Should the Panthers win in Ottawa tonight and Montreal beats the Devils, the Habs will be one point back of fifth. If the Habs lose in regulation and the Flyers somehow beat the Penguins with Johan Backlund in goal, Montreal falls to seventh.

Ottawa Senators – Fifth place, 40-30-5, 85 points
Last night: 4-2 win over Buffalo
Next game: v Florida tonight
7 games remaining, 3 against teams in playoff spot
Home (3) – Fla March 27, Car April 1, Buf April 10
Road (4) – Was March 30, NYI April 3, Fla April 6, TB April 8

Montreal Canadiens – Sixth place, 37-30-8, 82 points
Last night – Did not play
Next game: v New Jersey tonight
7 games remaining, 3 against teams in playoff spot
Home (4) – NJ March 27, Car March 31, Buf April 3, Tor April 10
Road (3) – Pha April 2, NYI April 6, Car April 8

Philadelphia Flyers – Seventh place, 37-31-6, 80 points
Last night: Did not play
Next game: @ Pittsburgh tonight
8 games remaining, 4 against teams in playoff spot
Home (4) – NJ March 28, Mtl Apr 2, Det April 4, NYR April 11
Road (4) – Pgh March 27, NYI April 1, Tor April 6, NYR April 9

Boston Bruins – Eighth place, 33-28-12, 78 points
Last night: Did not play
Next game: v Calgary tonight
9 games remaining, 5 against teams in playoff spot
Home (5) – Cgy March 27, Buf March 29, Fla April 1, Buf April 8, Car April 10 
Road (4) – NJ March 30, Tor April 3, Was April 5, Was April 11

Atlanta Thrashers – Ninth place, 32-30-12, 76 points
Last night: Did not play
Next game: @ Carolina tonight
8 games remaining, 5 against teams in playoff spot
Home (3) – Car March 29, NJ April 6, Pgh April 10
Road (5) – Car March 27, Tor March 30, Was April 1, Pgh April 3, Was April 9

New York Rangers – 10th place, 33-32-9, 75 points
Last night: Did not play
Next game: @ Toronto tonight
8 games remaining, 3 against teams in playoff spot
Home (2) – Tor April 7, Pha April 9
Road (6) – Tor March 27, NYI March 30, TB April 2, Fla April 3, Buf April 6, Pha April 11


Arjun said...

Right now, I'd rather play the Devils than any other team.

erl said...

My pick would be Buffalo. I think the Miller bubble is about to burst, and I'd love for the Habs to be the bursters...

Sliver24 said...

As long as we avoid Washington and Pittsburgh in the first round I'll like our chances to advance.

Of those two I'd rather meet Washington. Ovechkin seems to have trouble against the Habs, as does our pal Theo. Markov would undoubtedly be at his best against his friend Ovie.

It's mostly Pittsburgh that scares me. Sure, they may not have torn through the regular season, but they'll be at their Cup-winning best come playoff time.

Arpon Basu said...

I agree with Sliver, Pittsburgh is the worst case scenario. Frankly, Habs match-up pretty well with Caps because of their speed, but I don't see them dropping to eighth. Buffalo would be tough simply because of Miller. I don't know if Brodeur's still got it.

Anonymous said...

These are not the same Dvils of years gone by. And Habs can really help Pittsburgh by beating the Devils tonight. Once Malkin is back Penguins are the best in the Easr again and Habs can do themselves a huge favor too tonight by beating New Jersey. Brodeur is not the same goalie either. He himself cost them 2 games and elimination in last year's playoffs and it has carried over to this year, even to the Olympics.

Anonymous said...

On another note- the wheels have come off the Flyers, they are in danger of dropping right out of the playoffs. Used another goalie today for 2 periods.

Anonymous said...

Every time Habs can set themselves up in a comfortable playoff spot or position with a win whether it be in Florida, Tampa Bay, with Philly twice, with Ottawa and tonight again with New Jersey, they come up short. TTime after time!