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"Blueline Blast"
NJ • 29 Years Old • Male
The Season Series

The Habs owned this one in the regular season, taking 8 out of 8 points in 4 games they played. Carey Price recorded his first NHL shutout on the front end of their February home-and-home with the Flyers and stopped 66 of 67 shots over the two games. Philadelphia went 2 for 22 on the power-play in the season series, while Montreal was a better 6 for 25.

Matching Up

- Puck possession will be a key aspect of this series. Montreal plays well in transition (and can certainly handle a run and gun pace well) but their cycle work down low and into the slot has been impressive all season. The Flyers defense will be tested and the pairing of Jaroslav Modry and Jason Smith (assuming it stays in tact) will have to step up. They were out there for most of Washington's goals in the first round and looked downright pitiful at times. If their level of play doesn't improve, this could be a short series. Expect John Stevens to have little patience for their defensive incompetence - especially if the Flyers get behind early. In that case, I wouldn't be surprised to see the defensive combinations juggled to adjust for Montreal's potent attack.

- Montreal and Philadelphia had the #1 and #2 regular season power plays, respectively. Whatever team draws more penalties will gain a significant advantage, unless one of the PK's takes over and dominates the series. I like Philly's power play, but I have to give the edge to Montreal's unit - Streit and Markov combined with all that talent up front is very difficult to defend.

- Carey Price handles the puck with the best of them, so Philly will also need to be wary of where they dump the puck and how they advance into the offensive zone. Price does a great job buying time for his defenders in their breakouts. Much like the Rangers approached playing Martin Brodeur in the 1st round by consistently dumping it into the corners, I'd expect to see the Flyers try to limit Price's chances to play the puck.

Wild Card

Martin Biron: He was publicly criticized for performing poorly in back to back starts leading up to Game 7 and responded with a great game (and even better 3rd period). Montreal is a different animal than Washington and their attack is more balanced. While the Caps had two solid scoring lines, the Habs can put the puck in with all four. He'll need to be at his best if the Flyers are going to have any chance.

I'm going to say Habs in 6, but I would not be surprised if this was a short series.
Filed Under:   Playoffs   Montreal   Philadelphia  
April 24, 2008 9:43 AM ET | Delete
Everyone's calling for a short series but you've got to remember...the Flyers had scoring from all four lines...I think it was eleven different players that scored. I would say that this series is going to really come down to goaltending and both goalies are new to the playoffs. I think it's going to be a wild one.
April 24, 2008 10:00 AM ET | Delete
I do agree and I'm not saying that the Flyers have no chance (predicting a series in 6 hardly says that). If they can get consistent pressure on Price and dominate the physical aspect, Philly can win this thing. Personally I hope they do, because regardless of the outcome of the other series, we'll have a dynamite ECF.
April 24, 2008 10:54 AM ET | Delete
I think that this might end up beign the closest series...I'm pretty happy with the round two matchups overall...
April 24, 2008 1:07 PM ET | Delete
Just be sure that everyone remembers this, "The Playoffs are DIFFERENT". The pressure increases. Ovechkin missed 2 empty nets, Montreal's PP struggled. The Sharks almost got beat - they lost 3 games in 10 days. They didn't lose a game for a month before that. Throw everything you know away and just enjoy the game played with true passion every shift!! No money, no bonus, just the chance to hold the CUP!
April 24, 2008 1:18 PM ET | Delete
I agree, Phigment. Enjoy the series, I know I will.
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