2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs Prediction – First Round
Finally, the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs has arrived, and here at Pucking Hockey, I expect the Montreal Canadiens not only knock out the New York Rangers but, to have a solid playoff run. And when the time comes, eventually knocking out Washington and Boston. Here’s why the Canadiens are the team to fear in the Eastern Conference.
Montreal Canadiens vs New York Rangers
The difference in this series will be the size advantage in Montreal’s bottom six forwards. Three names that stick out are Dwight King, Steve Ott, and Andreas Martinsen. Who were all acquired at the trade deadline. Alex Galchenyuk is also another name that stands out not just on the power play but a secret weapon on the 3rd line. Playing alongside Andrew Shaw, who has experience in the playoffs when in Chicago and Artturi Lehkonen.
These are of course under the radar players the Rangers’ will not expect to make an impact. The obvious are, the best goaltender in the league, Carey Price. An experienced bomb from the point, Shea Weber. All around solid defenseman, Andrei Markov. Sniper Alexander Radulov. Long time Hab, Tomas Plekanec and captain Max Pacioretty.
This is Shaw’s first season in a Montreal jersey and turned quite a few heads this season with his puck possession numbers. While scoring 13 primary points during 5 on 5 hockey this season, including 9 goals. The scoring doesn’t seem high, but the puck possession is what’s most important playing on the third line. Actually, any line for that matter.
Shaw doesn’t possess the big size, but he does get under player’s skin, a player the Habs’ have not had in several seasons. I’ve been saying it for years now, once Montreal finally adds size and grit, this team will go far.
As for the rookie Lehkonen, a 21-year-old Finn managed to put together a 16 goal season. Which completely flew under the radar this season, and I bet Montreal’s glad he didn’t capture any media attention. Since March 1st, he has collected 5 goals, two being game-winners.
The 4th line consisting of King, Ott, and Martinsen don’t see much ice time, but when they do, they leave bruises. The problem with this line is puck possession, which ranks in the Bell Centre’s basement. I am expecting Claude Julien to use his 4th line when New York’s Tanner Glass takes the ice. And we could see a goal or two from this line, if that happens, Montreal will have a successful first round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs <- more predictions
Montreal Canadiens vs New York Rangers Stanley Cup Prediction
Montreal’s healthy and led the Atlantic division for the most part of the regular season. It’s a must or bust season in my opinion. Yeah, give me Montreal in 6 games over the New York Rangers. Oh, and not to gloat, but I will, I was right about the Montreal Canadiens this season 😉
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