Canadiens vs. Bruins playoff preview

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The Blogs

Habs Eyes On The Prize vs. Stanley Cup of Chowder

A grand old rivalry returns, as Montreal faces Boston in the first round.

The Storyline

Montreal has been celebrating their "100th season" for months now, but the party turned sour after Alex Kovalev won the MVP at the All-Star Game. A season-ending injury to Robert Lang, the Kovalev benching, then the firing of head coach Guy Carbonneau have left this team scrambling just to make the playoffs.

The Numbers

Montreal Boston
 Record 41-31-10 15th 53-19-10 2nd
 Pts % .567 13th .707 2nd
 Goals For/Game 2.95 12th 3.29 2nd
 Goals Against/Game 2.93 19th 2.32 1st
 5-on-5 GF/GA 0.96 17th 1.42 1st
 PP% 19.2 13th 23.6 4th
 PK% 82.4 11th 82.4 11th
 Shots/Game 30 13th 30.3 11th
 Shots Against/Game 31.7 24th 30.8 21st
 FO % 50.9 14th 51 13th

How does the line go? Oh yeah... "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here."

Goaltending

Montreal


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Jaroslav Halak 34 1931 18 14 1 0 92 2.86 1077 985 .915 1
2008 - Carey Price 52 3036 23 16 10 4 143 2.83 1513 1370 .905 1

Boston


GP MIN W L T EGA GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
2008 - Tim Thomas 54 3259 36 11 7 4 114 2.10 1694 1580 .933 5

Penalties

No OtF preview would be complete without a look at Penalty Plus/Minus, to see which players will head to, or send other players to, the box:

 Montreal Penalties Drawn Boston Penalties Drawn
 Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-  Player Draws Fouls Pen +/-
 Maxim Lapierre 45 28 +17  Milan Lucic 34 39 -5
 Alex Kovalev 38 36 +2  Shawn Thornton 33 31 +2
 Mike Komisarek 35 55 -20  Zdeno Chara 30 38 -8
 Tom Kostopoulos 34 36 -2  Steve Montador 29 47 -18
 Andrei Kostitsyn 28 17 +11  Marc Savard 31 23 +8
 Alex Tanguay 25 17 +8  Mark Recchi 24 11 +13
Penalties Taken Penalties Taken
 Mike Komisarek 35 55 -20  Steve Montador 29 47 -18
 Alex Kovalev 38 36 +2  Milan Lucic 34 39 -5
 Tom Kostopoulos 34 36 -2  Zdeno Chara 30 38 -8
 Roman Hamrlik 9 31 -22  Shawn Thornton 33 31 +2
 Maxim Lapierre 45 28 +17  Marc Savard 31 23 +8
 Tomas Plekanec 24 22 +2  Mark Stuart 14 27 -13

There is an interesting contrast between these two teams, as Montreal games usually involve more special teams work (2nd-most PP chances, 6th-most PK's in the league), while the Bruins play more 5-on-5 (#27 in both PP and PK frequency). It's not something that would tip the balance of power, just a difference in style.

The Prediction

There's simply no logical reason to pick Montreal here, all one is left with are the "emotion of a rivalry" intangibles. Take the Boston Bruins in perhaps the biggest mismatch of the opening round.

And oh yeah, Boston wins the "coolest commercial" award as well:

NHL Playoffs Blog Coverage, Schedule and Scores - SB Nation

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