Habs and Hab Nots
Next on the Penguins hit list… The Montreal Canadiens.
Those Frenchies from the north, the most decorated team in all of hockey (second most in all of sports) comes into town for the second round of action. The “Les Habitants,” or Habs for short, are the longest continuously operating professional hockey team and the only existing NHL club to predate the founding of the NHL They have won the Stanley Cup a total of 24 times. That’s 25% of the time since the NHL was founded! This team obviously has a winning tradition behind it, to go along with their high expectations.
They are coming off a series victory over the #1 seeded Washington Capitals where they were down 3-1. That makes this a very dangerous team. The Pens, however, proved dangerous themselves in Game 1, winning 6-3. The lopsided win doesn’t make up for the fact that the Pens have lost Jordan Stall or what seems like the rest of the playoffs. In a freakish accident, a skate cut through his boot and lacerated a tendon in his foot, requiring surgery. Typically, this injury takes 2-3 months to heal, but Coach Dan Bylsma is still calling him “day to day” in typical playoffs fashion.
If Staal is indeed out for the remainder of the post season as predicted, then it’s a major blow to the Penguins chances to repeat as champions. Jordan makes the Penguins the deepest team at Center, as well as dominating on the PK and playing solid all-round defense. His loss shouldn’t effect the road through the Eastern conference, but when playing against a much more physical team from the West, he will be sorely missed. After all, when not playing on a team that has Sidney Crosby and/or Evgeni Malkin, he would be a top line Center.
On that note… Pens in 5. The playoff beard lives on!