BOSTON (CBS) — We still don’t know when the Bruins and Canadiens will kick off their second-round series, but we know that when they do we’re all in for some hard-fought playoff hockey.
Montreal has been off for nearly a week after a four-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. The Habs looked impressive against Tampa Bay, and after a 2-1-1 regular season against the Bruins they could pose Boston’s biggest threat in the Eastern Conference.
Dave Lozo of Bleacher Report joined The Adam Jones Show on Monday night to give a national perspective on the upcoming series, and while he says Montreal has a shot, cautions against their regular season success over the B’s and in their first-round series.
“They beat a team, not only a team that didn’t have their potential Vezina-finalist goaltender (in Ben Bishop), but they beat a team that was very banged up going into that series and didn’t get healthy as it went on,” said Lozo. “On top of that they swept the series and will now have eight or nine days off between series. To me you almost have to throw that series away; it’s almost like their first round is against Boston.
“If you look at the regular season, those games were pretty close but they started Peter Budaj in three of the four games,” he said. “I don’t know how you can judge those games heading into the series, so (Montreal is) a tough team to gauge. It’s going to be a tough series. I think Montreal just knows how to play Boston and I think there is something to that.
“There are no surprises between these two teams. I think Montreal is going to give them a series; I don’t know if they can beat them but I give them a puncher’s chance,” said Lozo. “If Carey Price plays well and they can get under the Bruins’ skin, I’ll give them a chance. Not a great one though.”
Price was between the pipes just once this season against the Bruins, stopping 32 of the 33 shots they sent his way in a 2-1 Montreal win in early December. For his career, Price is 16-8-3 with a .917 save percentage and 2.55 goals against average in 28 games.
The Detroit Red Wings pulled out a win over the Bruins in Game 1 of their playoff series, and back in 2011 Montreal was able to take the first two games of their first round series in Boston. Lozo said a Game 1 win for Montreal will be key, otherwise the Bruins may be in the Eastern Conference Finals sooner than many expect.
“Game 1 is going to be huge. If the Canadiens come out and Price plays well – if they lose 2-1 and Price makes 35 saves that’s a huge thing for Montreal,” he said. “But if they come out and lose that game and it’s like Game 1 in Tampa, when Price was off his game and gave up four goals, I think it will be a quick series… Game 1 is going to be a massive, massive game.”
In breaking down Boston’s five-game outing of the Red Wings, Lozo says there aren’t many holes on this Bruins squad. And despite all the chatter, they should be able to handle the speed of the Canadiens.
“They’re just a machine. They’re so good top to bottom,” he said of Boston. “It’s so hard to score against them, and I know people will talk about how Detroit was banged up, but I think it had a lot more to do with how Boston plays, their lineup and structure. They have four lines that play really good two-way hockey.
“It’s so hard for me to envision a scenario in the Eastern Conference where a team will be able beat them four times out of seven games,” said Lozo.”The Bruins can handle anyone’s speed. They’re not a slow team and they’ve done it all… There aren’t a lot of holes there and I don’t know if Montreal is the team to exploit those holes. But I’ll give them a chance.”
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