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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Bruins-Habs Preview

Boston Bruins

53-19-10, 116 pts (2nd)
29-6-6 HOME (2nd)
24-13-4 AWAY (2nd)
274 GF (2nd)
196 GA (1st)
3.29 GPG (2nd)
2.32 GAG (1st)
23.6% PP (4th) 
82.4% PK (11th)
1.42 5v5 GF/A (1st)
30.3 SPG (11th)
30.8 SAPG (21st)
313 PP OPP (27th)
74 PPG (7th)
7 SHGA (7th)
54 PPGA (3rd)
306 TS (27th)
8 SHG (6th)

Montreal Canadiens
41-30-11, 93 points
24-10-7 HOME (12th)
17-20-4 AWAY (19th)
249 GF (12th)
247 GA (21st)
2.95 GPG (12th)
2.93 GAPG (19th)
19.2 % PP (13th)
82.4% PK (11th)
0.96 5v5 GF/A (17th)
30.0 SPG (13th)
31.7 SAPG (24th)
374 PP OPP (2nd)
72 PPG (7th)
11 SHGA (9th)
65 PPGA (10th)
370 TS (6th)
10 SHG (4th)

Boston was 5-0-1 vs. Montreal, while Montreal was 1-3-2 vs. Boston.

For the second straight time, the first and eighth seeds meet, the Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens, but this year with a twist. On the Habs 100th year anniversary, the Bruins and Canadiens switched roles. After Montreal dominated Boston going 8-0-0 in the regular season, the 8th seeded Boston Bruins took the Habs to a game 7, in which they lost 5-0. But that game gave them the strength to compete the best season an Eastern Conference team has seen since the Conference's were realigned. The Boston Bruins are the number one seed, while the Habs are the 8th. Will history repeat itself like it 2002, or will the Bruins finally make it past the 1st round for the first time since 1999?

The Bruins had the best offense in the East, and 2nd in the NHL 
behind the Detroit Red Wings. The Bruins have seven 20 goal scorers (Kessel, Savard, Ryder, Krejci, Recchi, Wheeler and Kobasew), and 13 players with 20+ points. The Bruins have some of the strongest depth at center in the league with Marc Savard, David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron up the middle. The Bruins can constantly roll out four lines and tire down opponents, which is why they had the best 3rd period goal differential in the league this season. When the Bruins offense has been on, they have been nearly unstoppable. The Bruins also boast the best 5 v 5 goal ratio in the league, and if the Bruins can stay out of the penalty box, they should be able to score more than Montreal.

Montreal has had an up and down season with their offense, averaging around 3 goals per game. They have only two 20 goal scorers, but 15 players with 20 or more points, showing their depth. Montreal does not have a clear superstar on offense, aside from Alex Kovalev, who can be one of the best in the world when he wants to be. Montreal's offense flows through the power play. If Montreal's power play fails, so does their offense. Montreal also feeds off the home crowd, so when they score, they tend to score in bunches. 

Edge: Boston

Boston allowed the fewest goals in the NHL this season thanks to Tim Thomas 
and Manny Fernandez and their stellar defense. The Bruins have two Norris Candidates in Zdeno Chara and Dennis Wideman, and also have some depth incase of injury with Steve Montador and Shane Hnidy. The Bruins are very good at clogging up the neutral zone and layering their defense. Although they tend be outshot, many of those shots are from outside and to the sides. The Bruins defense is also very good at moving the puck up and the transition game. The Bruins sometimes struggle with an aggressive forecheck.

Montreal's defense has been average this season, with injuries really hurting them. Andrei Markov may miss part of not all of the first round, which is a huge blow for the Norris candidate. Mike Komisarek, Roman Hamrlik and banged up Matheiu Schneider will anchor the Habs blueline. Unfortunately for the Habs, guys like O'Byrne, and Gorges, Bouillon, Dandenault, and Brisebois may not be enough to stop the Bruins offense. If Markov can return, that'll be a huge boost for the Canadiens.

Edge: Boston

The Boston Bruins have one of the best goalies in the NHL and a Vezina finalist in Tim Thomas. Thomas led the league in SV. % and GAA, while backup Manny Fernandez is one of the best backups in the league if Thomas were to go down. Although Thomas has only one series of playoff
 experience, he played very well against the Habs, and if he can stay on his game, he is nearly impossible to beat. 

The Habs have young goalie phenom Carey Price. Price has had an up and down season, and has been a very emotional player on the ice which has hurt him at times. He was replaced by Jaroslav Halak in last seasons playoffs, which is not a good sign. If Price is on, he can be one of the top 10 goalies in the league, but if he is off, he can be just plain awful. Halak is a decent backup, but if Price goes down, Habs fans can't be too confident in Halak. 

Edge: Boston

Prediction: Boston in 5

Anything can happen, as seen in last years playoffs series, but this Boston team is so much better than Montreal this season than Montreal was to Boston last year. This Habs teams has been very dysfunctional at times this season and unless all of their parts come together and they get 6 PP's per game, I don't see how they can win the series. The Bruins have much better goaltending, offense, and defense than the Habs. Stat wise, the Bruins are an elite team while the Habs are middle of the pact. Barring a complete choke, the Bruins should come out on top.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy shit, matt your alive??

12:04 AM  
Blogger Jefe77 said...

Good job Matt!

4:26 AM  
Anonymous HabMan said...

Great regulars season update. Buts this is the playoff. Throw all your stat out the windows. We always beats The Bruin in playoff. Habs in 4! Sucks it Bruins!

5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

great analysis. all that really worries me is kovalev...he has a knack for lighting the bruins up. still though even with markov theyd be hard-pressed to win this series. were literally better in every aspect of the game except having roughly the same PK. and yeah 23 point gap compared to a 10 point gap between the teams this season. im thinking bruins in 5 too but ill say never know with the habs

5:37 AM  
Anonymous MC Puck said...

Habs fans get a clue. Everyone is using last season as a litmus test to prove that an 8 seed can push a 1 seed, but go back and look at the Bruins last few weeks before the playoffs started. in their last 8 games they were 6-2 and they were winning games by wide margins. They were the real deal BEFORE the played the Habs in the playoffs and showed them how weak they really were. now the Bruins are a better, more physical team, and are scoring at a clip they never reached last year, and the Habs are struggling, getting poor goal tending, and look like they forgot how to score.

It's a completely different story line than last year, so don't be so cocky. You're team sucks habs fans - sorry to break it to you.

11:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

todays practice lines



wow now thats some bullshit. if the bruins lose this series its going to be because of julien. maybe they should sit recchi on the powerplay too. tips and goals dont matter. conservative hockey, 3 men high, and not thinking offense is how you win games.

11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey matts one post for the month

3:54 PM  

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