Hockey News has us 4th in division that could challenge for first
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09-13-2013, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
The biggest deciding factor in our division -- by far -- will be how the goalies respond to a full season. Look at Montreal's competition: Boston and Ottawa went as far as they did because of strong goaltending, but neither Anderson nor Rask has ever played nearly as well over a full season. It's one thing to start 30-40 games, another thing entirely to play 60-70 games -- these guys have proven zero over that longer span. Toronto is in the same boat, with two part-timers in a potential dogfight for the top spot. It may energize Reimer and Bernier, or it may leave a gaping weak spot.
On the other hand, as erratic as Price was for a few weeks, he's the only goalie in that group who has proven he can excel over an entire season. The guy's a workhorse who had his best season when he played 72 games.
Ottawa's offence may improve marginally, but I predict a fallback on goaltending and less success as a team than many expect. Rask may keep Boston's GA down, but I think people underestimate how much they lost in Horton, Ference and Seguin, plus an aging Chara. Still up there, but not elite. Toronto is in for a rude reality check, IMO. Montreal should make the playoffs easily, but will be competing against the Islanders and Detroit for the mid-pack positions. Ottawa and Toronto may be bubble teams.
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