We don't know yet who the Habs will face, or what state of health they'll be in when they get to the playoffs. But I can't help thinking they've got a legitimate shot to win the Cup. I don't think I ever felt that way in the last 20 years, even in 2008 when they won the conference. This year, they're playing as a team and they've got great chemistry, which a Cup winner has to have. They don't have the best scorers, but they've got a lot of them with somebody stepping up every night, which makes them harder to predict and contain. They don't have the best defense in the league, but they're solid and move the puck quickly. Price can be insanely good when he's hot, and the coaching staff knows what they're doing. They've got depth.
So, I think the only question now is how healthy they'll be going in. If Emelin, Diaz, Bourque and Armstrong can be ready on opening night, the Habs can compete with anybody. Am I alone in thinking this team could actually win it all?
Honestly, our defensive performances have been so hit and miss that the possibility of going through a few 7 round series just isn't something that gives me much confidence about Cup hope. Would happily be proven wrong.
I should have added, while I believe this team can pretty much do anything with a bit of health and some puck luck, I feel absolutely no stress about what will happen this year. If they win a round, fine. If they get to the Finals, fine. After last year, just watching them play with such dedication and joy this season is so much fun. Anything after April is gravy. And you never know, if the players feel the lack of pressure too, that could actually help them.
If we are able to get in with a fully healthy lineup I feel we could do some serious damage. Depth has been the main key to teams successes in the playoffs and for once we have some. Not only do we have a lot but we also have an excellent goalie in Carey. I know playoffs is a completely different story from regular season but I feel there really isn't any teams in the East that the habs should be scared of. Anything can happen.
If the habs go versus a team of the South Eastern conf, we're good until the second round at least, otherwise it'll be tough, specially if Bourque & Diaz don't come back soon to get their sync back before the playoffs.
If we face a physical team in round 1: second round exit or 7 game loss in Round 1
If we face a non-physical opponent in round 1: third round exit or EC champs
If we can avoid the wear and tear in round 1 we'll be better off even if we have to face a physical team in round 2 because:
a)our momentum will be going and we'll be healthy most likely
b)if we avoid the physical teams, its very likely that those teams will face one another, and therefore be beaten up and tired even if they win round one. Stamina and skill start to take over. Even the most intimidating teams can't goon it up every series. Look at Boston, they relied more on their defence than their muscle in the latter parts of the 2011 PO. Julien knew how to use their assets. We'll have a big advantage since we can roll 4 lines that can play and we'll have the depth to cause matchup problems.
All this aside, it's so hard to tell. But I feel that Price is heating up at the right time, our team is getting key guys back into the lineup, and our youth and energy is showing to be consistent and relentless. We could go far if we don't have to have a hard-fought, exhausting first round matchup.
I think that if we can get passed the first round [Considering we probably will be the favourites to win the series], anything can happen from there. But I'm fairly certain that the first round will be our toughest. If we can get passed that, would be ecstatic to get to the conference final. But it isn't a necessity. Just the playoffs alone is a good result for this team consdering where we were last year
This is the start of our window... I hope we go far but if we don't it's no big deal. I didn't even expect the playoffs this soon anyway so it's a bonus.
I think we're good enough to do some damage. I'd still like another Brendan Prust type guy as we're not that big or physical a team. That will probably hurt us because the refs put away their whistles in the post season. I'm optimistic that we can win a round or two. With any luck this will be our 1986.