Habs Upset Record Setting Hurricanes

We may have seen the greatest upset in GVFHL history today. The Habs were a team that were a borderline playoff club and were behind the Hurricanes in the standings by an overwhelming 21 wins and had 41 less points in the standings. Add to this the Habs had a -5 goals differential vs the Hurricanes +104 goals differential. This was a series that was supposed to be over 3 games ago. The Habs were just happy to be in the playoffs and would’ve been thrilled just with that.

Going onto enemy ice the odds were stacked against the Habs in game 7, the Canes were heavy favourites to not only beat them, but also to win the cup. The Habs didn’t care though. Vet coach John Tortorella helped keep his guys focused on the task at hand and to keep playing their tough brand of hard working hockey. Brady Tkachuk best exemplified this as he was all over the stat sheet. In the series the star rookie showed off his potential putting up 5 goals and 6 assists in these 7 games. Add to that Tkachuk also put up 13 hits and he was an impossible player to contain. “He’s the only reason we won” said Hab’s star Forsberg in regards to Tkachuk. “He gave us so much energy on the bench with his hits and to add to that he was making plays and scoring big goals for us, can’t ask much more of the kid. He’s going to be a star for years to come”. Forsberg himself had a really good series as well. Leading all Habs players in goals with 6 total and he also put up 15 hits.

The Habs are matched up with the Leafs in the 2nd round, should be an interesting series and another potential 7 game long one. No matter what though Habs fans will be happy as they keep defying the odds and pushing on forward.

Not Done Yet

Coming into the 2019-2020 season the Habs looked like a team looking to win the 2020 draft lotto. Over the course of the season though it became clear the Habs weren’t bad enough to get a high lotto pick. With this in mind the Habs made some big deals to get names like Forsberg and Ekholm added to their roster. These moves were made more so for future seasons rather than this season however. Habs management knew they weren’t going to realistically be a contender this year.

At the end of the year the Habs managed to lock up the 8th seed in the east and set themselves up for a date with the Hurricanes. The Habs and Hurricanes have some history in the playoffs, having met 3 times in the past 4 seasons. Whenever both of these teams make the playoffs it just seems like they somehow meet up to play against each other. The Habs beat the Canes in their first meeting in a 5 game series where they upset them. The Canes had just won the presidents trophy and the Habs GM at the time was just a rookie. They proceeded to meet up again in the 2018 playoffs were the Canes almost came back and 3-1 series deficit, losing to Montreal in game 7 by a score of 4-2. This year however was supposed to be an easy win for the Canes. They had just come off a record breaking season and the Habs were a team that only made a big push in the last 20 games after acquiring 1st line calibre talent. Habs management were fully expecting a quick series that would’ve left the fan-base wanting more. However the Habs have shocked the league and forced a game 7 back in Carolina after beating the Canes 5-3.

Whatever happens Tuesday night in Carolina the Habs won’t be disappointed. They would obviously love to advance but the fact that their young core that is only going to get better has pushed a record setting team to a game 7 is nothing short of great. With their first trip back to the playoffs since winning the cup the team has proved that they know how to win when it matters. Coach John Tortorella has helped this group play it’s best hockey at the most crucial point in the season. It all comes down to one last game 7. Will Tkachuk and Forsberg be able to continue leading this group? Or will the Canes overwhelming depth and star power finally beat these pesky Habs? Good luck to Dustin and his Canes!

Montreal Post-Deadline Look 2020

The Punisher

Montreal had a busy couple of days leading up to the deadline, on Tuesday they acquired star forward Filip Forsberg and vet shutdown defenceman Erik Johnson. Wednesday night they swapped out Johnson for the a more offensive orientated d-man in Mattias Ekholm. Finally yesterday they acquired big bruising defenceman Mark Boroweicki. With these moves can the Habs be considered a contender? No not really, the team’s d-core is pretty solid and Murray is a decent starter but the forward core is lacking talent. So the question might be asked is what was the point of moving out youth when the team is clearly not a contender this year?

“Every move we’ve made over the past month or so was to better equip us for being a contender next season” said GM MacPherson. “We are letting our youth develop one more year and make a run at our 2nd ever GVFHL title. There are only a couple of moves left to complete our vision of how the team should look next year”. Looking at the team this year they are no longer a complete pushover and should make whomever they may get matched up with in the playoffs (if they make it) work for a series win as they have added a lot of talented offensive players like Forsberg and Ekholm, some solid two-way guys like Eller and Martinez, and some bruising vets like Boroweicki and Foligno. Looking at the team next year this is how they project to look

Tkachuk – Forsberg – Strome

??? – Danault – Olofsson

Foligno – Eller – ???

??? – Suzuki – ???

Severson – Ekholm(Loyalty)

Orlov – Shattenkirk

Irwin/Sandin – Boroweicki

Merzenkins

Murray

With 4 forward spots to fill there is still a lot of growth for next years team to endure, but Habs management seems like they have a plan in place to fill these spots and maybe they will make some noise next year.