After the game against the Edmonton Oilers, the Montreal Canadiens will get that much-needed break they were seeking. It has been a rough stretch. The last 25 games took place over a span of just 44 nights basically. Let that sink in for a second.
This included four back-to-back scenarios and several three games in four-night runs that tested a team that already had been ravaged by injuries.
Now, if we are to believe TSN, Montreal expects to get a week off.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin Saturday with U.S. games, with the North Division games expected to start no earlier than next Wednesday.
So, is this because Vancouver and Calgary do not end their regular season until May 19th? Is it because Edmonton ends their regular season on Saturday? Is it some combination? Honestly, it is probably the former in some way and the latter with the other. Either way, there is one important detail.
The Montreal Canadiens are getting that much-needed break.
What a break means for the Montreal Canadiens
Again, if this really is a week as is being speculated, Montreal can go into a series with the Toronto Maple Leafs in a much better state. This means Carey Price and Phillip Danault likely will play in the series with Price probably starting Game 1. Brendan Gallagher (thumb) should be ready as well.
It looks like Shea Weber should be about as healthy as he is going to be. Finally, Tomas Tatar gets to rest up from what has apparently ailed him for the last little while.
A full series preview will come over the weekend more than likely. The important thing is that Montreal will be able to get practices in to prepare for Toronto.
Injured players will get the extra reps sorely needed as well. There should be few or no excuses for what is ahead of this Montreal Canadiens team. The Toronto Maple Leafs will be a considerable challenge but Montreal is capable of defeating them. They did three times this season (one being in overtime).
The key is getting through this evening’s game against the Oilers with no injuries. Dominique Ducharme, Marc Bergevin, and the entirety of Montreal will be hoping for that. It will be intriguing to see how minutes are allocated and who rests this evening as well.
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A parting shot or two…
Montreal will have much to work on over the next week but at least they are into the second season. It is not as important how they got there as to how they finish. Some numbers rank worse under Ducharme when compared to Claude Julien. Even the vision of Marc Bergevin has been questioned many times and in many ways.
All that matters now is Round 1 of the NHL Playoffs. Can Montreal win four times in a best of seven against the rival Toronto Maple Leafs? The only thing to say is that a series win is possible and that history is a bit on Montreal’s side. Either way, expect a ton of twists and turns and lots of cascading emotions. Get ready for the ups and downs that is playoff hockey.
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