First and foremost, I am Tommy Fro, I am a new contributor, I am awesome, and I am a Bruins fan. So, it’s a dull affair mulling over this preview; humbling to have no more Bruins. But, hey, you gotta have some rainy days to enjoy the sunny ones. The B’s and Pens upsets leave an interesting dual for the Eastern Conference Finale. So let’s exercise some mental toughness and let’s do this.
P.K. Subban: absolute force in these playoffs. Physically, emotionally, statistically (leads Habs with 12 points), the guy has been a stud and that momentum only picked up after downing the big bad B’s.
Powerplay: Habs went 8-for-25 in the B’s series with the man advantage (32%); that’s helpful.
Depth: Up front, the Canadiens are sneakily as experienced as anyone left in these playoffs. Plekanec, Briere, Vanek, Pacioretty, and Gionta are all legitimate vets. Danny Briere, in 118 career playoff games, is 2 points shy of a point per game but sits just 7th on the roster in scoring this playoff season. That’s how balanced they’ve been. Then throw in the budding star Brendan Gallagher, a smart and steady d-core, and one of the best goaltenders in the world when it counts; the Canadiens are going to be tough to stop.
Henrik Lundqvist: is the reason the Rangers won the series against Pittsburgh. Granted, Crosby was shutdown and didn’t produce, at which point credit is due to the team defense. But Lundqvist had to play like King Hank to counter being out-skilled by Pittsburgh. Hank has averaged under 2 goals against a night through the playoffs and has posted a .931 save percentage. That’s against Crosby, Malkin and company and a very skilled Philly squad.
But…Not So Strengths
Consistency: combing through New York’s roster, there is no one, aside from Martin St. Louis, who has ever really produced consistently in the playoffs. Brad Richards leads the Rangers in points this post-season, but is generally pretty inconsistent. Rick Nash is one of the most offensively gifted players in the NHL, but only has 2 goals in 30 career playoff games.They have a lot of skill up and down the line-up, but I don’t think they have that grit factor to beat Montreal. And I feel the same way about their other skilled guys: Zuccarello, Pouliot, Brassard.
Essentially, I wouldn’t bet that the Rangers can keep up with the ubiquitous force of Montreal’s physicality, speed, and skill.
Montreal in 5
Suck it Habs. Go B’s!
*Master Chief Editor’s Note: how ’bout the balls of this call from Tommy? So aggressive. Just a fearless start to his career.