Tuesday, April 11, 2017
NHL playoff preview: Montreal Canadiens vs New York Rangers
Since the 2016-17 NHL regular season has ended, it's playoff time! Today, I'll be previewing the number one team in the Atlantic division, the Montreal Canadiens, go up against the first wild card team, the New York Rangers. Both teams are known for having superb goalies. First, let's take a look at the teams.
A June 29 trade that sent star d-man P.K. Subban to the Nashville Predators for another star defenseman in Shea Weber will make an impact, obviously. I'll say it makes a positive impact. Defensively, Weber has the advantage. Other advantages for Shea includes shot and leadership. P.K. is a better skater, but that's about it. Jeff Petry will need to step up, and so will Alexei Emelin, when he returns from an injury. On forward, captain Max Pacioretty, centers Alex Galchenyuk and Tomas Plekanec, wingers Brendan Gallagher and Alex Radulov will lead. They're led by the best goalie in the world, Carey Price. An injury caused by a dirty play by Rangers Chris Kreider sidelined Price for the Eastern conference finals years back, and Price will want revenge.
New York Rangers
Wingers Kreider, Mats Zuccarello, Rick Nash and Jimmy Vesey can all score. Centers Mika Zibanejad, Derek Stepan, J.T. Miller and Kevin Hayes are all good. Don't forget about speedy winger Michael Grabner, who scored 27 goals this season. On defense, they'll need Ryan McDonagh to step up. Henrik Lundqvist has always been a top goalie, but at age 35, is dropping off. He had a bad season, with injuries, being benched and the rise of Antti Raanta all occurring.
My prediction: Montreal Canadiens
This series will definitely go to 7 games. Both teams are very similar. Both have offensive firepower, lead on D by one guy, and have great goalies. But Weber is better than McDonagh, and Price blows out Lundqvist.