by Tony on 04/30/10 at 11:41 AM ET
We’ll soon find out, won’t we.
Can’t help but tap your stick to the Habs. What an impressive all-around performance in their huge upset over the Capitals, from containing Alex Ovechkin, to once again exposing the defensive fraud that is Mike Green, to the incredible stonewalling from Jaroslav Halak.
But unfortunately for Montreal, they don’t award any bonus points for it. For as impressive as they played against the Caps, they must do it all over again, and this time it’s against the Champs.
Let’s take a look at some of the key points (I’m a little rushed, excuse the brevity):
- Indirectly, I believe Montreal’s upset win over the Caps should ensure that the Penguins won’t be on their heels as they were during Game One in the Ottawa series. The Habs will surely attempt to ride the momentum of their win over the Caps into Game One tonight, and the Penguins know that. That should lead to a un-flat group of Penguins.
- The Habs blocked a ton of shots in the Caps series, 182 of them in the seven games. Look for the Habs to try to continue more of the same, while the Penguins attempt to counteract that with their passing. In addition, many have said, and I agree, that the Caps relied on perimeter shots from the points too much. Look for the Penguins to try to get the puck down low and get it on net.
- Going along with the blocked shot theme, the Caps were a horrendous 1-for-33 on the power play against the Habs’ penalty kill. The Penguins had a good 25% (7-for-28) power play against Ottawa, but they should get a tougher test against the Habs’ PK. Conversely, the Pens’ PK was a mediocre 68.2% against Ottawa, albeit with 2 of the Sens’ 7 power play goals being 5-on-3. They’ll be matching up against a Habs’ power play that went 6-for-20 against Washington.
- Hal Gill is duplicating his defensive performance of a year ago, at least so far. Now he and his defensive teammates will attempt to continue their strong play against the Penguins. It will be interesting to see how the Habs will matchup against Crosby and Malkin, similar how to the Sens had Phillips and Volchenkov going against Crosby.
- Last but certainly not least, the wildcard simply has to be Halak. If he continues on his white hot streak, there’s absolutely no reason to think the Habs couldn’t upset the Penguins in the same manner they just beat the Caps. The question comes down to whether he’ll stay hot, or whether he used all his bullets up against the Caps. The Penguins will surely attempt to pummel Halak with puck after puck. Statistics alone suggest that Halak’s 15 minutes of fame are probably up. Aren’t they ??
It’s going to be an interesting series, from the Penguins four French-Canadians going against their boyhood team to Malkin’s parents flying into town and renewing their celebrity status.
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Welcome to The Confluence, a Pittsburgh Penguins blog since 2006.
Originally at Blogspot, then at MVN, TheConfluence has over 1500 articles reporting Penguins news as well as jumping on my soapbox to opine constructive Penguins criticism.
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