Author: Dan Marotz
Regular Season Series: Montreal (3-0-0)
Home Ice Advantage: New York
I’d have to give the edge to the Rangers in this category. I think both teams have good, talented players. However, I think when it comes to playoff time, the Rangers forwards perform a bit better and are a bit more lethal. To me, players like Derek Stefan, J.T Miller, and Chris Kreider will outshine the likes of Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, and Alexander Radulov. I think from top to bottom the Rangers are a more whole and complete offense. What it all comes down to is timely goals and who executes their play style better. In my opinion, that team will be the Rangers.
The edge goes to the Canadien’s for defense. You cannot deny the skill, leadership, and intimidation that is Shea Weber. Weber had 42 points on the year and was a plus 20. The man is always a hassle to deal with in front of the net, moving forwards out of the way and physically abusing them in the corners as much as he can. I think he will be a nightmare for the Rangers forwards to deal with. Especially since the Rangers forwards have only consistently played against him this past year since being traded from Nashville. The Rangers have a solid defenseman in Ryan McDonagh who I personally love. He too had 42 points on the season. However, I think Weber edges him when it comes to physically defense and I think Weber is a much larger threat on the Power play. Again, it all comes down to who executes better and I think this will be Shea Weber and the rest of the Canadien’s d-core.
This could be the single most exciting part of this Rangers-Habs match up. Lundqvist vs. Price. I think Price just edges out Lundqvist here. Price has the better stats (.923 sv% and a 2.23 GGA) than Lundqvist (.910 sv% and 2.74 GAA). As you can see, they are fairly close but Price wins. Add in the fact that it appears Lundqvist is a tad past his prime and this is why I think Price has the edge. Lundqvist is certainly not over the hill, the man can still win games single handedly for the Rangers I just think Price will be a bit better this time around. The last time these two teams met, the Rangers won. However you cannot ignore the fact that Price was out in Game 1 due to a reckless play by Chris Kreider. With the added toughness on D with Weber being around and now Jordie Benn who’s an excellent defensive defenseman, don’t count on Rangers players getting to close to Price. Certainly not close enough to injure him.
Prediction: Habs in 6
Despite what I said on the podcast I think I will say the Habs win it in 6. I think the Rangers will put up a great fight but I think with Price healthy this time around and Weber and Benn being thrown into the mix, I think it will be too much for the Rangers to combat against. I think this series will be an extremely close one despite me thinking it will end in 6 not 7 games. Definitely keep an eye out on which goalie comes flying out of the gate and which one makes the big plays early in the series. Whichever goalie does that will provide a huge boost to his team and provide the necessary confidence needed to win a tough series such as this.