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Canadiens vs Carolina – Conference Quarter-Final

  • The Canadiens blew a 3-0 lead to lose their final game of the season 4-3 to the Devils. The Devils fought back and earned the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference and home ice advantage after being on the brink of the playoffs only 3 weeks ago.

    The Canadiens started great as they always do when there is no ‘pressure’ on them. After clinching the night before the Habs were playing loose and effective and earned a 3-0 lead. Then they got a little too loose and complacent and the Devils fought their way back in and stole the game in the 3rd period. It wasn’t a pretty site for Habs fans hoping to go strong into the playoffs but really means absolutely nothing now.

    The playoffs are upon us and everyone is starting fresh. The anticipated matchup against the Senators didn’t happen but not due to the Habs loss.
    Ottawa pounded the Rangers and Carolina was shut out by Buffalo giving the Senators 1st place in the East.

      Can the Canadiens beat the Hurricanes?

      The numbers this year would give you a pretty clear answer and that answer is no. The Hurricanes dominated the Canadiens this year winning every game and outscoring the Canadiens 25-9 in the process. One of Jose Theodore’s finest outings of the season when he was embarrassed en route to an 8-3 Carolina victory.

      Do the regular season numbers mean anything? You can’t ignore the fact the Hurricanes beat us easily but you have to remember these are the playoffs now. A different Habs team and a different Hurricane team. A new season and with a lot more on the line.

      The Canes are not ‘hot’ lately as they have been all season. The additions of Mark Recchi and Dough Weight seemed to have shifted the balance of the team in a negative way as opposed to helping them. The loss of Erik Cole to a neck injury is a big loss as well.

      No one thought the Canadiens would upset Boston in the past 2 playoff series and they did. Coming back from a 3-1 defecit on top of it.
      What franchise has more playoff history experience and tradition? Montreal or Carolina?

      On paper its a very tough series and going to be an uphill battle.

      What are the keys to beating the Canes?

      The Habs top players have to be playing their absolute best. Starting with goaltending. Hot goaltending is what makes the difference and wins playoff series.

      This begs the question who will get the start? A little bit of a controversy is brewing in Montreal over the starting goaltender. Mainly hyped by the media. There is no problem in nets and in fact we are at an advantage having 2 quality healthy goaltenders heading in. It is a positive thing not a negative.

      Who gets the start?

    • Cristobal Huet who carried us to the playoffs and has great numbers but no playoff experience.
    • David Aebischer who has been in and around playoff teams and Cup winners.

    Huet took us there and deserves the start. If he plays poorly that’s one thing and Aebischer could always come in if needed. Huet has proven himself a quality goalie and earned the right to start. I see no reason to have this guy on the bench when the puck drops.

    Can Huet or Aebischer outplay Martin Gerber?

    The Habs will have to contain the Hurricane offence which boasts seven 20+ goal scorers and 100 pointer Eric Staal. The Habs will also have to have their special teams firing. Staying out of the box and strong penalty killing might make the difference in their ability to steal wins. A hot powerplay will be needed to compete against a team that puts up lots of goals.

    The agitators like Murray and Downey will have to get the Canes top players off their game. Strong physical play by Komisarek, Souray and Rivet will be needed to
    slow down the speed and skill of the Canes. Carolina can beat the Canadiens speed with their own and there will have to be a physical element to the Habs game or they could be outclassed.

    Goaltending, special teams, top players excelling, role players doing their job. The team basically has to play their absolute best 60 minutes of every game to have a chance. Luck also plays a big part in the playoffs too and maybe the Forum ghosts have finally moved into the Bell Center to help us out.

    The first goal is to steal a game on the road and get back to Montreal 1-1 or better.
    Canadiens and Canes, should be a fast paced exciting series.

  1. Gainey is driving me crazy with the goalie-switching. pulling Huet when he was red hot cooled him down…now what…damn!

  2. The playoffs are referred to as the “second” season — with good reason. The Canes definately had the Habs number during the regular season, but things are different: for the March 16th game, Huet was just starting his run and (I think I’m right) Markov was out. Montreal is definately a better team now than at any other time this season and fully capable of playing with, and beating the best.

    Of course the Habs will have a tough time against the ‘Canes. Winning the series would be an upset, but if the Habs can split in Carolina — I agree with Habsblog, they need to play THE ENTIRE game, goaltending needs to be Christo-wall and hope for some good luck too — it’s possible.

    As for our Carolinian friend Jim — history is nice, so is trash talk, BRING ON THE ‘CANES: Carolina has some weaknesses the Habs can exploit (in nets, on defence, etc.). We’ll see what you have to say after the series.

  3. #3 jfk0202 says:
    April 19, 2006 at 6:07 pm

    Well i half agree with Peter…I dont think the Habs will do that great..but they will make a series out of it. And I totally agree that San Jose will be the team out of the west. Thornton and Cheechoo are unstoppable right now

  4. #4 jfk0202 says:
    April 19, 2006 at 6:16 pm

    I agree unless somehow our D shows up….as for Jersey…wow scary line with Gionta and Elias. Brodeur is finally playing well too. My guess is them out of the east…

  5. Dear Fellow Montreal Fans,

    Yes…the Carolina Hurricanes had alot of success against us this year in the REGULAR SEASON. (Note: REGULAR SEASON!!!!)

    To me…the Carolina Hurricanes are still the Hartford Whalers and we always beat them in the post season. LOL The additions of Mark Recchi and Doug Weight to the Carolina line-up have hurt them…more than helped them. Martin Gerber’s stats between the pipes don’t even compare to Cristobal Huet’s down the stretch.

    I like Darryl Sutter and what he’s done in Calgary. He should be commended. His team is tenacious, hard-working on the forecheck, and they have great fan support. However, the Calgary Flames are not a great team…the Calgary Flames are a GREAT GOALTENDER! They will have their hands full with the Mighty Ducks Of Anaheim with the likes of a red-hot Teemu Selanne, Scott Niedermeyer, and J.S. Giguere.

    I have nothing but faith in Bob Gainey, Guy Carbonneau, and the rest of Les Canadiens. It’ll be a close series…but I’m picking the Habs!

    Enjoy The Playoffs Everyone!

    Mark Hostin

  6. #6 jfk0202 says:
    April 19, 2006 at 7:08 pm

    I agree lets get back to Hockey…unfortuntely I am thining canes in 7…:(
    Unless huet/Abbi get hot and Canes continue to struggle without Cole

  7. #7 Chris-look for another first round HABS "upset" says:
    April 21, 2006 at 5:48 pm

    The Canadiens have quickly established themsleves as being a team that can prove all those nasty sport writers and reporters dead wrong for not giving them a shot in hell at emerging victorious despite being overwhelming “underdogs”. Just goes to show the the regular season means absolutely nothing come playoff time. It is all about which teams play harder and want it more. The Canadiens do not have a ton of depth, but they are a team that knows how to win at the right times. Look for the Canadiens to again win in the first round against a Carolina team that will be over confident and under prepared for a fiery and desperate Habs club. Huet will be a show stopper…and yes the habs will get some lucky bounces. However with the good comes the bad…the season will end after this series. There is no way in hell that the habs will pull off the unimaginable and beat Ottawa in the second round. As much as i love these guys…perhaps if we played Ottawa first round we could have pushed it 7 games…but after being tired beating Carolina, and the Sens well rested having a breeze beating Tampa…if going to be lights out for the Habs in 5 games against Ottawa. They are too good…unless of course there are key injuries to the entire starting lineup to the sens…then look for us to lose in thirs round to Jersey…either way there is no chance we will make the cup final…sorry guys…tooo much wishful thinking out there…i mean…we arnt that good!

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