anybody but ottawa or carolina. id like to know not only WHO is an easier team to play against but WHY. i feel we have the best chance with philly (no lundqvist, jagr, etc), but i havent followed or seen any of their games.
Since I can't wait until the Huricans fold and leave NASCAR country for a hockey market I would love the Habs to beat them. Sure, we sucked against them this season and they knocked us out in 2002, but if I want the Habs to win the cup I have to think they can beat anybody on any night.
I fear the canes but I'd take Ottawa without Hasek ahead of the rangers
Ottawa minus Hasek
The Rangers with Lundqvist could be dangerous in the playoffs and I'd rather face Ottawa with Emery than the Rangers. I think the Flyers would be the best matchup for us though since we have played well this year and once agin they don't have the goalie to go far.
All that matters is that they win the series in less then 7 games. They will need the rest to knock out two top seeds in the east a sweep would be best but highly doubtful. Five game win is realistic and will be huge if they have any hopes of winning two rounds.
The Habs have played the Sens well all season and Huet has been great against the SEns. But still Montreal should avoid a match up with Ottawa. Ottawa even with it's injuries is the best team in the East by a significant margin. Carolina was close when they were really going well before the All Star break but now are not as close as they were. But Carolina is the second best team in the East and I can't seeing wanting to play them either.
Montreal matches up really well against Philly. Philly is slow and while they can be really dangerous they are also very beatable. The Rangers and Sabres could both be awesome playoff teams but they also could be beaten. Jagr and Briere are the keys and if the Habs (maybe Bonk?) can contain those 2 and Huet stands on his head the Habs could beat either of those teams. The Rangers, Sabres and Habs all play a similar style in that they are quick and have good puck pursuit but are not overly Physical. Plus all 3 have gotten outstanding goaltending.
To me Ottawa stands alone with Carolina a little behind and the other 6 teams in the East playoffs are capable of beating each other. I won't be surprised at all if Tampa, New Jersey or Montreal finish 6th and upset the 3rd seed. I would be a bit surprised if the 7th seed somehow beats Carolina. And shocked (and devasted ) if the 8th seed beats Ottawa.
Carolina's speed and work ethic make them a tough matchup for us. There's only so much you can do against that, you just have to work as hard as they do and hope your goalie provides the stops and you stay out of the box.
Anyone but Ottawa and Carolina in the first. Let someone else take some steam out of them.
We seem to match pretty well with Philly. I think you have to look at them like you do Boston the last two times we played them. Bigger, and slower. Use our speed, and we should be able to toy with their defence almost as well as we did Boston's.
The Rangers have been a great regular season team. I think they could go either way in the playoffs. They could roll, or they could flop. I haven't decided which way I think they'll go yet. They have goaltending and offense. They have the best forward in the league.
I think the Rangers would be easier to play physically, but harder to defend. I'm more worried about Lundqvist than I am Esche/Niitymaki. My gut tells me we'd fair better against the Flyers, but we might be worn out should we get through.