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Our Toughest Opposition This Season


HabsRuleForever

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Have to think TB will be the toughest. They either keep stamkos or they trade him for a boatload of players - either way they should be good. Coaching is a strength and their defense is great. I still think Bishop is overrated but with that d corp in front of him, you likely wont see any issues there.

The Rangers are a bubble team for me. I think the bottom is going to drop out on them within the next couple of years but im not sure if it will be this year or not.

The Islanders and the Sabres could well make noise. NYI already started to last year & Buffalo has added an almost ridiculous amount of talent.

I think one of Washington, Pittsburgh, Columbus or Detroit will do well also but to me the rankings will be:

TB / Montreal (1 - 2)

NYI/NYR (3 - 4)

Buff/Wash/Pitts/Colum ( 5 - 8)

(obviously they wont rank like that because of the playoff tree/Divisions, but im just talking 1 - 8 in points)

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Tampa is clearly the class of the division right now. They're the team to beat. They took us out last year.

I think Detroit will still be solid but I expect a drop off in their performance with the change in coaching and system, albeit not a large one. Similarly, I think Toronto will improve this year but I don't see them taking big leaps for another season or two. Likewise for Buffalo: they'll be better, but are they a playoff team yet? I have my doubts. Florida looks like it'll be an also-ran once again, scrapping for 7th through 12th. And Boston's core is aging and they seem to be heading through a bit of a transition as well. I think they have good odds of making the playoffs but I don't see them as a huge threat if we play up to our talent level. Lastly Ottawa almost certainly seems destined for a fall after their miraculous run in the late regular season last year. So the way I see our division shaping up is as this:

1. Tampa

2. Montreal

3. Boston

4. Detroit

5. Ottawa

6. Toronto

7. Buffalo

8. Florida

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Meet the new "Beast of the East":

Photos-of-Lightning12.jpg

Rangers sold the farm to acquire Yandle. But not even he, McDonagh and King Henrik can stop them. And we're talking the President's Trophy winner here :o . MB is entering his 4th year as GM. Same time it took Steve Yzerman to build a monster squad. Barring any disaster, repeat Cup finalist again!

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  • 1 month later...

The new york rangers are the toughest and most fun to watch when they play the habs. That night when price killed the 5 on 3 penalty was INSANE. The game gets intense when Price and Lundqvist face each other!

Agreed. Two of the top teams in the NHL with the best two goalies in the world. It will be an exciting season series to say the least.

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Would have said Tampa early in the season and I wouldn't dismiss them yet because that team can be much better than they are playing now but right now our only competition is NYR and I think we can beat them. I still worry about beating Tamps in a 7 game series IF they are playing at their best

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Thus far, it's hard to picture Buf, Tor, or Fla making the playoffs (or making any noise if the do happen to sneak in). So within our division, the competition remains Ott, Bos, Det, and TB. Within that group, I think we are clearly the favorites against the first three teams, and I'd have a hard time seeing one of those teams taking us down over 7 games. Tampa is a different beast. They've had a terrible start to the year, but they're a deep enough and talented enough team that they can turn that around, and frankly, if they get into the playoffs playing well, they will remain our toughest challenge in our division.

Within the East, Washington and the Rangers are probably the two toughest tests outside of our division. Washington is sitting on a very good goalie in Holtby, an experienced coach, and they've got some tough forwards who can be hard to match up against. I think they can end up being just as much of a challenge as the Rags.

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I don't doubt that the Rangers are going to be in the playoffs and probably make a reasonable amount of noise, but their possession numbers are lacklustre to be polite. In 5-on-5 Fenwick For %, they're tied for 13th in the East and their PDO is 106.4. Ottawa is a similar story: second worst 5-on-5 Fenwick For % in the conference, third highest PDO. Those two trike me as very good candidates for mid-season doldrums and playoff upsets assuming they make it and things don't turn around.

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