Mar 24, 2014; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Bruins right wing Jarome Iginla (12) knocks down Montreal Canadiens defenseman Andrei Markov (79) in front of Canadiens goalie Peter Budaj (30) during the third period at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Bruins - Montreal Canadiens Series Preview

One of the most historic rivalries in the NHL will resume Thursday when the Boston Bruins and the Montreal Canadiens square off in the second round with the prize being an advancement to the conference finals.

SEASON SERIES

Montreal won the season series 3 games to 1, with one of the wins coming in a shootout. The  Montreal Canadiens outscored the Boston Bruins 8-7.

 

THE MATCHUPS

Goaltending

These are two of the premier goalies in the league.  Tuukka Rask is a finalist for the Vezina Trophy this season and Carey Price is an Olympic Gold Medalist.  Rask had a GAA of 1.16  and .961 SPin the Boston Bruins first round series against the Red Wings, while Price had a slow start to the series against the Lightning and finished with a 2.33 GAA and .904 SP in the Montreal Canadiens first round sweep.

Defense

Zdeno Chara is the anchor of the blue line, playing his usual 25 minutes of solid defense.  The young defensemen like Torey Krug and Dougie Hamilton leading the way offensively.

The Habs rely heavily on their top 2 pairs, with the third pairing used sparingly.  P.K. Subban leads the way with 5 points, but the group did not score a goal in 4 games.

Offense

The Canadiens got a great and unexpected performance from Rene Bourque in the first round, with 3 goals.  Brendan Gallagher and Lars Eller led the way with 5 points each.

The Bruins were led by Patrice Bergeron early on, with the line of Milan Lucic, Jarome Iginla and David Krejci coming on later in the series.

Special Teams

Boston has had the best power play in the first round, with an outstanding 37.5% success rate.  Montreal’s was about half as good, coming in with the 9th ranked PP at 15.4%.

Boston also has the 3rd best penalty kill, clocking in at 90%, while the Canadiens were only successful on 71% of their kills, with the 14th ranked unit.

 

 

PREDICTION

Going into round 1, I stated the Canadiens couldn’t have had a better matchup in the first round with the Lightning, and that became even more favorable when Ben Bishop couldn’t take the ice in the series.  The Canadiens got through that with a sweep, but the Bruins are an entirely different animal than the Lightning.  The physical, bruising style of the Bruins will wear down the Habs and it will start early, just like it did against the Red Wings.

BRUINS in 5

 

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Tags: Carey Price Habs NHL Playoffs P.K. Subban Patrice Bergeron Tuukka Rask Zdeno Chara

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