Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Your First Round Prognostos...Canadiens vs. Bruins

Before we get hip-deep in Caps-Flyers stuff this week, what about the other series? Well, your Uncle Peerless has the low-down. Let’s start with the Canadiens and Bruins…

Montreal Canadiens (1) vs. Boston Bruins (8)

Season series:

Oct. 22: at Canadiens 6, Bruins 1
Nov. 8: Canadiens 2 at Bruins 1
Nov. 17: at Canadiens 7, Bruins 4
Dec. 6: Canadiens 4 at Bruins 2
Jan. 10: Canadiens 5 at Bruins 2
Jan. 22: at Canadiens 8, Bruins 2
Mar. 20: Canadiens 4 at Bruins 2
Mar. 22: at Canadiens 3, Bruins 2 (SO)

This is the most storied rivalry among those in the first round. Memories of Orr, Robinson, Esposito, Lafleur, Dryden, Cheevers...this is old school. But Montreal swept the season series, 8-0, and is on an 11-0 streak against the Bruins dating back to last season. That’s called, “having a team’s number.” And there really isn’t a secret about how Montreal has done it – defense and special teams. Boston has scored more than three goals once in this series since December 23, 2006, and the Canadiens' special teams have been utterly dominating. The Montreal record this year against Boston attests to that:

Goals for/against: 38/16
Power play goals for/against: 10/3
Even-strength goals for/against: 27/13
Power play: 10/34 (29.4%)
Penalty killing: 28/31 (90.3%)
Record, one-goal games: 2-0-0
Record, 3+ goal games: 4-0

And it is not as if the domination was a product of former Canadien Cristobal Huet in goal. Carey Price is 5-0-0 against Boston this year, 2.17, .927.

Among the skaters, some guys got all fat and happy playing against the Bruins:

Alex Kovelev: 7-4-11, +9
Tomas Plekanec: 3-7-10, +8
Mark Streit: 0-11-11, +8
Andrei Kostitsyn: 5-6-11, +8

Boston has to get more production from its top guys, who haven’t had much success against the Canadiens this year. For example, their top five season scorers:

Marc Savard: 1-8-9, -1
Marco Sturm: 3-0-3, even
Zdeno Chara: 1-3-4, -6
Chuck Kobasew: 0-2-2, -7
Phil Kessel: 1-3-4, -11

On top of this, Kobasew is out with a fractured tibia, and Savard has been on the shelf with a back injury. Which means, much of the load is going to fall to Tim Thomas in goal. What Thomas has done against Montreal is quite different than what he’s done against the rest of the league…

Record: 0-4-1 vs. Montreal/28-19-5 vs. everyone else
GAA: 4.21/2.24
SV: .877/.927

Why Montreal will win…

Montreal finished the year strong – 14-4-1 since losing consecutive games on February 21-23. Their top scorers have had a lot of success against the Bruins, and Carey Price appears to have achieved a comfort level as the number one goalie and in his season against the Bruins. Meanwhile, they will be taking on a team that is, for a playoff team, limping (in more ways than one) into the playoffs. Don’t let that 13-6-7 Bruin record over the last 26 games fool you. In addition to the seven overtime losses (four by way of Bettman’s Gimmick), three wins came via the gimmick. We’re done with that nonsense for the year.

Why Boston will win…

Uh, they won’t.

Montreal in four.


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Marky Narc said...

...but the Bruins are so boring to watch, it will feel like six games.