Tonight…. in just a couple of hours The Montreal Canadiens will play game one against the Washington Capitals.
I suppose one could look at an 8th seed team and automatically write them off as they face such a high powered offense in Washington. Not only Washington’s high powered offense, but the once Habs net minder Jose Theodore who’s been playing VERY well the last few months….. his season started with such tragedy and he’s played some very inspired hockey this year.
I was heartbroken for you Jose…. but I’m glad you’ve had a strong season.
Now going back to the Habs. I don’t really “expect” them to win. The Capitals are clearly the more high powered offense and they also have bigger bodies. I would personally say that both these team’s defense are basically a wash. Neither were among the top in goals against this year.
Montreal finished 13th in goals against and Washington at 16th.
Both teams also boast some very talented offensive defensemen in Andrei Markov and Mike Green.
But I believe there is definitely some hope for the Habs!
There are 2 great young goaltenders who in any given game can steal one for you. Now keep in mind that they’d be stealing one against the most high powered team in the league.
I also think that this team is just now… for the most part generally healthy. Mike Cammalleri is back… This is the time of year you want to click. The Habs have won these Capitals…. Tomas Plekanec performs well against these Caps….
The playoffs are always slightly different. You get to play your opponent at least 4 times in a row. This should give your coach a chance to try some things….. I would be changing it up as needed. Really feel out your opponent.
Now something that I’ve seen the Canadiens do this year and I’m not sure if it’s a true coaching strategy….. is sit on a lead. A 1 goal lead? Try to get through the game from about the second period on to win the game? Not a strategy I’m a fan of. Push for the second goal.
This Capitals team is not the team you want to play against trying to sit on a lead….. they will barbecue you, burn you… and throw you out without eating you.
So please, what I’d love to see is a hard fought game. I wouldn’t say “run and gun”…. there’s just no easy way to win this series if you’re the Canadiens. You’re matched up against a strong team.
But, push offensively as the Caps aren’t the strongest defense….. and play hard…. play hard and try to draw penalties.
The power play COULD become an important asset in this series.
Go Habs Go!