Rabid Habs

The Forum: The First Round

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Keeping it simple! Today we ask our contributors what their expectations are or the Habs against the New York Rangers in the first round of the NHL playoffs? And we want to hear from you in the comment section!

Kyle Roussel (@kyleroussel) – My knee-jerk reaction says that there’s no reason why the Habs should not win this series handily. In fact, I see no reason why the Habs should not make it to the conference finals. Buuuuuut, this is the playoffs, and it is the Habs, so one never knows how many banana peels they’ll drop at their own feet. Unless Chris Kreider has his bowling shoes on again and throws a strike, in which case all bets are off.

I expect that Pacioretty will have a good round, and avoid having his great season called into question. Ditto for Price entering his UFA year. Weber and Galchenyuk need to be at their best, and the role players have to be the unsung heroes that every successful team needs at this time of year. I expect Dwight King to call upon his experience with cup-winning teams in L.A. to really show us why Bergevin went out and got him.

Give me Habs in 5.

Sean O’Neill (@TheONeillFactor) – These two teams are pretty evenly matched: the Habs got 103 (47 wins) points in the mediocre Atlantic, while the Rangers nabbed 102 points (48 wins) in the much tougher Metropolitan. The Rangers probably have a better roster 2 through 20, but the Habs of course have Carey Price.

Home-ice advantage, the fact that Price historically owns the Rangers, and Montreal`s post-Julien bump might be enough to give the Canadiens a slight advantage (and a pretty easy second-round match-up against the winner of OTT-BOS).

I can`t shake the feeling, however, that this just isn’t the Habs season: Rangers in 7.

Robert Brown (@TheStandardBob) – I think Montreal will fare well against the Rangers. The teams are a duplicate of one other and this matchup will be no easy feat for either. The Rangers are better top to bottom than the Canadiens, but that being said, we are more organized in a tactical sense, and we also have Price.‎ By my recollection, Carey Prices SP vs. the Rangers is north of .930 throughout his career. And I expect Radulov to have an exceptional series, his robust play bodes well with the playoff atmosphere.‎

My prediction: Habs in 6.

Olivia Lawrence (@Radulove47) – Habs will win the first round if everyone remains uninjured. Carey’s numbers against the Rangers are exceptional, to say the least. As long as Chris Kreider keeps his distance, I believe Montreal will win this round in 5-6 games. I have a feeling Lehkonen will be the hero in this round. He was huge last year in SHL during the playoffs (16 games played with 11 goals and 8 assists), and judging by how he ended the regular season, I wont be surprised if he does amazing in this postseason.

Ian Boisvert (@Boisvertian) – The Montreal Canadiens are the only 100 point team to play another 100 point team in the playoffs. The New York Rangers are a very good team, but the Canadiens have had their number for the last few years as long as Carey Price is in net. I don’t think that’s as big of a topic as it was in 2014, but it’s the truth. In the last three years, the Rangers have only won two games in Montreal, and Mike Condon and Ben Scrivens were in net for the Habs in one of them last season.

I think the Rangers have a deep lineup up front, but they have a defensive system that relies a ton on Henrik Lundqvist. Sounds familiar…

Habs in 6.

Will Harte (@WillHarte) – I don’t know about you, but this Canadiens-Rangers series seems the most exciting of the first round, at least in the Eastern Conference. At the very least, it promises to be the most hard-fought. Or, as Stan Fischler calls it, “a matchup made in hockey heaven.”

To me, the story isn’t a battle between the pipes with Price vs. Lundqvist, but a battle behind the bench with Julien vs. Vigneault à la 2011 Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver. And as with six years ago when Claude’s Bruins beat Alain’s Canucks, I have the Habs in 7 games.

This series will be about skating and scoring. How will the Pacioretty-Danault-Radulov line (assuming that stick Max took to the face yesterday isn’t serious) measure up against Kreider-Stepan-Zuccarello? Can Paul Byron, Brendan Gallagher, and Alex Galchenyuk keep pace with the likes of Jimmy Vesey, Rich Nash and J.T. Miller? Meanwhile, on the blue line, will Andrei Markov and Shea Weber show Dan Girardi and Ryan McDonagh how it’s done? And who do you have, Nathan Beaulieu or the Rangers’ Brendan Smith?

So many questions! Thankfully, we will all start to get answers in just a few hours. Hockey heaven? Yes, indeed. I can’t wait.

Zach Vanasse (@ZachDropsTweets) – Here’s why the first round scares me: because if the Habs can beat the Rangers then it looks like there’s a clear path to the Eastern Conference Final. I mean, one of Ottawa, Boston, New York, or Montreal will be in the ECF, that’s a fact. To put that into other words, either the 4th, 5th, 6th or 7th place team in the East will be playing in its final. And, at minimum, two of the top three teams will be eliminated by the time the ECF rolls around in late May.

New York is the biggest obstacle Montreal faces between now and then. Which is why I’m nervous. The stakes are already high.

But hey, Henry sucks in Montreal. Carey owns the Rangers. I’m taking the Habs in 7!

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