By now we know who Montreal will face in the final round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
I have a little secret for you: I don’t know. Why, you may ask? I seldom (if ever) sit down at my computer on the weekends if I can help it. Oh sure, there are times when I have to… but I try to keep it to a minimum. As such, while the deciding game between the Islanders and the Lightening was Friday night, I am writing this article Friday afternoon.
The schedule for the final round was announced earlier today. It is:
|Tampa/New York||Montreal||June 28|
|Tampa/New York||Montreal||June 30|
|Montreal||Tampa/New York||July 2|
|Montreal||Tampa/New York||July 5|
|Tampa/New York||Montreal||July 7|
|Montreal||Tampa/New York||July 9|
|Tampa/New York||Montreal||July 11|
Because both Tampa and New York finished higher than Montreal in the regular-season standings, the winner of that contest will have home-ice advantage. That has been the story of these playoffs… Montreal has not played in front of a home town crowd until Game 3 in any series. I’d say they overcame that disadvantage quite well, wouldn’t you?
Someone asked me yesterday (Thursday) if I would rather Montreal face New York or Tampa. All things being equal, I would rather we face the Islanders. Someone else told me yesterday that they knew from the beginning that there was not a Western or Northern team that could beat either Tampa or New York. I reminded him that Montreal was not supposed to make the playoffs… and then they were supposed to be swept in four by Toronto, and then they were not supposed to beat Winnipeg, but there was no way that any Northern team would have a chance against either Las Vegas or Colorado.
And yet, here we are. Monday evening we will either be in Tampa or New York for Game 1. I hope the Forum Ghosts are packed for the trip… our boys will have their work cut out for them.
I’ll bet you there is someone in New York and/or Tampa Bay saying the same thing, that either of those teams will have their work cut out for them against Les Habitants.
Sometime between July 5 and July 11, the last team standing will hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup. I only hope that team wears Bleu-Blanc-Rouge!