Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Habs Are In

And we finally have a team in the East that has officially qualified for the playoffs, as of last night. The Montreal Canadiens whipped the Senators, 7-5, to clinch their birth into the Spring season and it also opened up a seven point lead for the division title. The Canadiens also have a small 3-point lead over Pittsburgh for the conference title, while the Penguins still have a game in hand in that race.

The Canadiens have been fairly fortunate this season with injuries and that their key players have not suffered too greatly in that department. Currently, they are without Mike Komisarek (Box 23) and Guillaume Latendresse (non-pool) to injuries, but they should see some playoff action, if the Habs are to play through the first week of action. That's some very good news.

Scoring has been very good for the Canadiens during the year. They have four 20+ goal scorers on the team and they currently have nine players to hit double digits in that category as well, including two defensemen. It looks like a good enough bet to have at least a couple Habs on your Playoff Pool team, since they are so potent.

Below in the chart, you will notice all the highlighted players. They are the players who are on the Sherpa's Playoff Pool Sheet.

Christopher HigginsTomas PlekanecAlexei Kovalev
Andrei KostistsynSaku KoivuMichael Ryder
Sergei KostitsynMaxim LapierreTom Kostopoulos
Steve BeginBryan SmolinskiMikhail Grabovski
Guillaume Latendresse
Andrei MarkovRoman Hamrlik
Mark StreitJosh Gorges
Ryan O'ByrneFrancis Bouillon
Mike KomisarekMathieu Dandenault
Patrice Brisebois
Carey Price
Jaroslav Halak

This team has plenty of weapons to play with, which should make them one of the favourites out of the Eastern Conference to make it into the Finals. In the Playoff Pool, the two Cup Final teams should be what you are aiming for when choosing the players from the best boxes.

The biggest question when it comes to the Habs is Carey Price. This 20 year old goaltender has faced his fair share of pressure, winning a gold medal for Canada at the World Juniors and already has won a Calder Cup in the AHL, so he has plenty of high-pressure situation experience. But let's not forget, this is the biggest dance of them all here. The Habs will only go as far as Price and the rest of their youth group will take them. Fortunately, they have plenty of experience in Alexei Kovalev and Saku Koivu to guide them along the way.

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