|Angus' Playoff Pool Primer - Part 2 of 2|
Breaking down each quarterfinal match-up. Included in these reports - injury news, fantasy predictions, and of course my overall prediction.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals: (1) Boston Bruins vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens
On paper this series is a huge mismatch, but that is why the game is played on the ice. The Bruins are playing with swagger and confidence, while the Habs have looked meek and timid for most of the season. However, the playoffs do present a clean slate for Montreal to bounce back from a very tumultuous regular season.
Montreal has zero chance to match Boston's toughness, so they must play to their strengths; speed, skill, and transition from the back end. Andrei Markov is out for at least game one, and that is a serious blow as he has been far and away Montreal's most effective player this season. Look for Montreal to try and spread out their offense (especially on the road) to give Boston some match-up problems.
Boston will pound Montreal, I think that is pretty clear. Look for Milan Lucic to be let loose this series. They can match the Habs in the skill department as well, but I don't think that is their best chance at winning the series.
From a fantasy perspective, I personally drafted a ton of Bruins (they are my pick to win it all). Dennis Wideman eats up a ton of minutes and gets lots of points, and Patrice Bergeron is rounding in to form after a below-average season offensively. On Montreal's side, they have a lot of players playing for new contracts. Expect big things from the UFA's, and I have a feeling youngster Matt D'Agostini has a big post-season if the Habs decide to make some noise.
Forwards: Boston. Similar skilled players (arguably the best with Marc Savard), and a more balanced bottom six (although Maxime Lapierre is emerging as a great checking center).
Defense: Boston. Deeper, bigger, more talented. And if Markov is out, the Habs are even thinner on the back end.
Goaltending: Boston. Tim Thomas has played like a Vezina candidate most of the season. Carey Price has not.
Intangibles: Even. Boston has more toughness, but it is hard to count out a team led by Bob Gainey.
Match-up to Watch For:
Since both teams are so deep up front, I'll go with the goalies here. Habs have a shot if Price out duels Thomas.
Montreal steals a game on the road – Bruins in five.