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NHL Playoff Preview: Canadiens vs. Flyers

by Jeff Briggs

A new round of hockey is upon us and since, despite watching the first round, I still don't know that much about hockey I've invited my roommate John DiDomenicis back for more playoffs previews. He went 6 for 8 in first round predictions.

#1 Montreal Canadiens vs. #6 Philadelphia Flyers
(Season Series – Habs won 4-0)

Both teams come off very different game 7 victories over their respective first round opponents. Carey Price stole the show in Montreal, making 25 saves, as the Canadiens won in a 5-0 rout over the Boston Bruins. Philadelphia clawed their way into overtime against the Caps with the help of Marty Biron, and Joffrey Lupul became an instant hero knocking in his first of the playoffs just over 6 minutes into overtime. All four games these 2 teams played this year, although not close on the scoreboard, were very competitive and had great pace – so expect more of the same. Although Philly can’t get rid of the “Broad Street Bully” moniker from the 70’s, they actually do have good team speed and will certainly need it in this matchup. As always, goaltenders will play a pivotal role in this playoff series; however, the play of Philadelphia’s 2nd and 3rd defensive pairs against the secondary scoring lines of Montreal will dictate how the series will unfold. Perhaps one thing going for the Flyers is that they have no pressure on them, after surpassing all realistic expectations for the 2007-2008 season. The Canadiens are the only team from Canada remaining, so you can expect scrutiny of the Canadiens’ effort and play to be at an all-time high. I think Montreal will be able to take this one, but if they can’t get the job done in games 5 or 6 and have to go the distance, I see the pressure getting to them and the Flyers advancing to the Conference Finals.

Prediction:

Canadiens in 6 games.