2010 NHL Playoffs: Caps vs. Habs

The NHL Playoffs are the perfect time for me to truly gain some blogging momentum. In my mind there is no greater sporting event than the pursuit of Lord Stanley’s Cup.

So with that being said, here are my playoff prognostications

Washington Captials (1) vs. Montreal Canadiens (8)

To be blunt, Montreal is lucky to even be in the playoffs. Unfortunately that’s where their luck runs out, as they draw the Caps as their first round opponent.

Washington ran away with the Eastern conference this year, thanks to the league’s top offense. The Capitals scored 45 more goals on the year than the second place team (Vancouver in case you’re curious). The man trying to stop all that offense represents the only area Montreal has a decided advantage: Goaltender Carey Price.

No seriously, Jaroslav Halak will be Montreal’s only hope of salvaging anything positive in this series. He will be under fire from the opening faceoff and will be a man alone. Montreal’s defensive unit doesn’t possess the speed and skill to keep up with the Caps and their forwards lack the size to effectively slow them down through the neutral zone.

Conversely, Montreal should throw everything they can at Jose Theodore or Semyon Varlamov, whoever gets the start. It really doesn’t matter which, as both have had inconsistent seasons peppered with highs and lows and will perform as the Capitals expect: just let in fewer than the other guy.

If I had to bet: I’d say the Washington in 5. A sweep won’t surprise me, but Halak might be able to steal one game on a night the Caps goaltending isn’t “good enough”.

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