Call of the Wilde: Who wins and why
Published Wednesday, April 16, 2014 3:18PM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 16, 2014 3:30PM EDT
- Experience is a distinct advantage as the Habs learned a lot from that series with Ottawa last year. They all know how the playoffs amps up everything and magnifies everything. It also takes out anxiety that a player might feel when he's already done it. About a dozen Tampa players will have heightened butterflies for game one as first timers. That first playoff experience many players say is a massive eye opener how much more intense it is. You better be ready to elevate Tampa. I have seen that the Habs can already do it.
- Goaltending is a big Habs advantage and it is the most important factor in a game. Price has handled the most nerve wracking moment there is with Olympic success or failure on the line and he got the job done with a nation full of expectation. Lindback is a total mystery. I remember a decade ago how Martin Gerber vomited his first two games for the Hurricanes before Cam Ward stepped in. Who knows what Anders is feeling? I do know Price is more ready for this than at any time ever right now.
- Scoring favours Montreal for certain. The top line has no match with Vanek Desharnais and Pacioretty. Tampa responds with the best player in Stamkos but that is essentially it. Otherwise it is a big Habs advantage.
- Depth is in the Habs favour too. The best depth this Montreal team has had in recent memory. Tampa's depth is suspect so if injuries hit, they're in far more trouble.
- Defense is a slight edge to the Habs too. Subban and Markov have no equal. Hedman is excellent but overall they are not the Habs equal in talent.
- Special teams because as good as the Habs penalty killing is the powerplay is right now in a 0 for 23 funk. The positive though is there are fewer penalties called in the playoffs. Still this is advantage Tampa.
- Home ice advantage. If it comes to a seventh game, then the Lightning have it in their own building.
- Season results favour Tampa as they won 3 of 4 and the Habs got only four goals in four games. Three went to overtime so expect close.
There's a lot more favouring the Habs to indicate Montreal in 5 or 6 but my vision of it is that it will be very close. When both coaches are happy to see tight defensive hockey, then expect it. And when you are sharing three goals per game, then who knows who gets the bounce off a shin to win it. The fact that it will be low scoring tightens it all up. I see a lot of overtime. I see a lot of fan anxiety. I see the Habs prevailing in game 7.
My final thought..... Drop the puck! Let's do this!!!