montreal canadiens hockey – habs blog RSS

» 2006 » March

  • Potential Playoff Preview

    If the regular season ended today the Canadiens would face the Carolina Hurricanes in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tonight’s game at the Bell Center is a preview of a likely playoff matchup.

    The Canadiens have not faired very well against the Hurricanes this year but neither have many other teams. The Hurricanes are the biggest surprise of the season and are in contention to win not only the Eastern Conference but also the President’s Trophy for the best regular season record in the NHL.

    David Aebischer‘s first test as a Canadien will be a big one. Aebischer starts today and will face off against his Swiss Olympic teammate Martin Gerber. Throw Mark Streit in the mix and it’ll be the most Swiss players to ever play in the same NHL game.

    If Streit does play it’ll be because Andrei Markov is still hurting and unable to lace them up. Never a good thing for the Canadiens who really miss Markov defensively and on the break out and powerplay especially.

    The Canadiens can leap frog over the Lightning again tonight with a win and both teams are likely to jump back and forth several times before the season’s end. A win over Carolina would be huge for the Habs confidence and Aebischer specifically.

    The worst possible outcome is a thrashing by Carolina and a David Aebischer hanging by Montreal fans and media. Tonight will be a good test to see what kind of playoff upset potential the Canadiens have. The Habs are not unfamiliar with being in 7th or 8th and upsetting 1st or 2nd in recent years. However, Carolina is a monster team this year and hopefully the Canadiens can get a more favorable matchup.

  • NHL Playoff Race

    It’s that time of the year again. The home strech of the season and the final run at the playoffs. The new rules and CBA designed to make the league competitive for every team have so far delivered what they’ve promised. A quick glance at the Eastern Conference standings this morning shows us 6 teams that all have a very legitimate shot at the post season. The Canadiens sit right in the middle of the pack and like they usually do at this time of the year will have to fight hard to squeeze into one of the bottom spots. 3 spots for 6 teams.

    6th spot to 11th spot is seperated by only 8 points. There’s a good chance a team or two will miss making the post season by as little as 1 point. Each game is more crucial then the last and it’s shaping up to possibly be one of the most exciting finishes in recent history.

    The Senators did the Canadiens a huge favor by scoring a game winning goal in the last 10 seconds over the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning lead 3-1 at one point. Whatever confidence they got after beating the Habs just went out the window. The Canadiens hold 2 games in hand on the Lightning and trail by a single point. John Tortorella’s head may explode before the Lightning ever win another cup.

    The Devils losing and the Leafs and Islanders on a mini win streak tighten things up even more.

    This late in the season a hot goaltender or an injury could seal or guarantee a teams fate. There’s definitely no guarantee right now and the current 6th-8th place teams could easily become 9th-11th.

    If you’re a betting man, odds are good that the Devils will finish no worse than 8th. The rest is really up for grabs.
    One thing is certain, after the recent taste of success the Canadiens have had if they somehow don’t make the playoffs it will hurt even worse.

    How do you see it ending?

    • 6th – Devils
    • 7th – Canadiens
    • 8th – Thrashers
    • 9th – Leafs
    • 10th – Lightning
    • 11th – Islanders