The Habs folded tonight, losing 4 games to 1 to Philadelphia, the 6th-ranked team. Philadelphia’s 18 skaters were no really better than Montreal’s 18 skaters (except for R.J. Umberger…that guy went all John Druce in this series) but Martin Biron was excellent and Carey Price was awful. Hard to lay too much blame at his feet; he’s 20 years old and was in his first playoffs, and he’s played an enormous amount of hockey in the last year, but in the end he let in three soft goals tonight and that was the difference.
It’s a weird feeling I have right now, something I haven’t felt since the early-90s…missed opportunity. For the last 15 years the Canadiens have only made the playoffs half the time, and when they do they usually just sneak in to the 7th or 8th spopt, so it’s a pleasant surprise if/when they win a round. This year, though, they finished first in the conference and drew just about the best possible opponents in both rounds…unfortunately, their goaltending disappeared in the second round, and the offense that ranked first in the regular season couldn’t find any consistency.
Big picture…the Canadiens were the youngest team to the make the playoffs, and they should only get better. I think a lot of young teams with big potential go through a rough ride in their first real playoff run; the question will be whether they can take the next big step and learn how to perform in the crunch. I guess I’ll have to wait eleven months to find out.
[tags]montreal canadiens, nhl playoffs[/tags]