Breakdown: Bruins vs. Canadiens
Updated: April 21, 2004, 2:43 PM ETBy Bill Clement | Special to ESPN.com
The numbers are close, but now that Boston is healthier the Bruins get the advantage. They have more gamebreakers up front who can get big goals at big times.
He should win the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie, but how will he respond now that the heat has been turned up?
The rookie winger was second on the team with 63 points and must continue to produce at that rate if Montreal hopes to advance.
The Bruins power play was pushed to another level when Sergei Gonchar came aboard at the trade deadline, and Montreal did not finish in the top 20 in penalty killing during the regular season.
The Canadiens were a top-10 power play during the season but there is a dropoff from the first unit to the second, whereas the Bruins have depth in both penalty kill units.
Boston rookie Andrew Raycroft has better numbers this season, but until he is playoff tested you have to give the edge to former Vezina/Hart trophy winner Jose Theodore.
Both coaches are green in terms of playoff experience, but both did an excellent job in the leadership department during the regular season. Until the series is a couple games old we won't really know who has the advantage.
The hardest Boston player for to defend is Joe Thornton, and until he is healthy enough to be a difference-maker the Canadiens have one less thing to worry about. Advantage Montreal.
Boston in six.
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