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03-29-2004, 09:56 PM
Kirk Muller
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Originally Posted by Mike8
Other than TB and NYI, there's no other top 8 team in the East I'd rather see Montreal face than the Bruins.

Toronto - simply too gritty with too much experience for Montreal to overcome.

Ottawa - plays the same style as Montreal with far more talent, depth and experience. Usually dominates the Habs.

New Jersey - can beat Montreal at their own game; solid fundamentally, lunch-pale crew with good speed and strong along the boards.

Philly - underachievers tend to shine against Montreal (LeClair, Recchi in the past). Philly's just had Montreal's number for many years now.

Tampa is a good matchup for Montreal because they're equally inexperienced but I feel Montreal's a better fundamental team with superior coaching. TB's offensive style and occasionally shakey goaltending makes them an excellent regular season team but suspect playoff team in my mind.

Reason I like a Boston matchup:

-soft finesse players like Juneau and Dackell step up their games the most against Boston and are far more effective.

-Montreal is more disciplined than Boston. There's a few hotheads on the B's that some of the more disciplined role players on Montreal could agitate into penalties. Given the Habs' improved powerplay, this could be a real asset.

-The Bruins' defense is improved, but still has some holes that can be exposed by a creative group of forwards.

-I'm more comfortable with the matchups Julien will have against Boston than any other team in the East. Souray is a very good match-up defenseman, as are most of Montreal's role playing forwards.

Most importantly: it'd be an extremely entertaining series.

I think there is also one factor, kinda the X factor, and that is Razor. He has had a phenominal rookie year, but like always the playoffs are a weird thing. Goaltending is vital, Toronto, Ottawa, Philly, TB all have experience goalies who in case of Belfour and Lalime have had success. I am not saying Raycroft will falter, but you never know how a young goalie will react to a "every save is a series saver" type games.

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