First, a lesson in the history of le Club de hockey Canadien.
The word "Canadian" comes from "Canadien," which comes from Kanada or Kanata, which means "village."
There is an M. Night Shymallayaaneyan joke in there, but we just aren't prepared.
Also, the Canadiens are commonly called The Habs.
"Les Habitants" was a French term used to describe early French jobber settlers who farmed and shit.
The Canadiens team was formed to appeal to Canada's francophone population.
The "H" in the logo stands for Hockey, though. It's all making sense now.
You have to respect the franchise's history:
Back when the home team would wear white, we would annually buy up tickets
to at least one Canadiens game a year in the Igloo so we could see the red unis.
Worst moment of one of our childhoods was when we got a white Habs jersey.
But spilled a cup of coffee on it.
The stain lives to this day. Sickening.
What were we doing drinking coffee in our childhood? Nobody knows.
It's hard to job the Habs, but we'll find a way. The hate will come easy.
For the first time in a long time, we get to meet a fanbase as passionate, if not more passionate, than ours.
Battles in comment sections, message boards, and Twitter will be prevalent early and often.
We expect media feuds galore. This is DEFCON 4.
You should start mentally preparing right now to not get any calls in Game Three.
One thing to really focus on is Montreal's long, rich history in cheating.
- Back in the day, Montreal star Maurice Richard would routinely try to have sex with players from the opposing teams after big games.
Picture: Rocket Richard, after some man refused to make out with him.
- Way too lazy to go find info on this, but if you're bored, go look at the shady shit surrounding the 1971 draft. Montreal basically cheated to get Guy Lafleur.
- And let's not forget last year's All-Star ballot fix.
Again, just wait till Game Three back in Montreal.
Cookie will check Gionta, the building will erupt, and the refs will be forced to call something.
Given the way the first round played out, this may be the most studied we've ever been on a Penguins second-round playoff opponent.
We'd watch the Pens one day, then watch Habs-Caps the next day. And so on.
Guessing a lot of Pens fans are in this same boat.
(Except for THE FAN morning show, who called P.K. Subban "T.J.")
And after watching the Habs win 3 out of 4 at the Verizon Center during the series, the worst thing the Pens could do is overlook Montreal in the first two games of this series.
Maybe this is our fathers talking, but we want no piece of playing up in Montreal.
Going up there down 2-0 just isn't an option.
Going up there with a 2-0 series lead is definitely possible.
We were going to talk about this series being the most important in Crosby's career: going into the belly of the beast, routinely doring interviews in French and English without flinching, the booing, the derision, etc.
Then we realized Crosby has won a Stanley Cup.
Realized that Crosby won the Gold Medal for Canada in sudden-death overtime.
Realized that Sid performs his best when in the spotlight, with everyone in an arena wanting him murdered.
So, fortunately, wondering if Crosby will show up in this pressure-cooker of a series doesn't need to be entertained by any media member, English- or French-speaking.
Max Talbot, MAF, Kris Letang, etc. are returning to their backyard.
If 66 isn't involved in the ceremonial faceoff before Game 3, Montreal has no clue what they're doing.
But we know what we're doing. The series preview. After the jump.
As we said with the Sens, if the Habs feel like they've already accomplished something, they've already lost.
PIT-MON PLAYOFF HISTORY
One of the least-talked about playoff series of all time is the Habs-Pens series back in 1998.
The most notable thing to happen in that series
was an epic Game One that featured a penalty shot by Aleksey Morozov.
Hit the post. Pens go on to lose in OT.
To this day, we have no idea why Marty Straka didn't take it.
Fingers crossed that FSN breaks out the footage.
2010 SEASON SERIES
October 28: Pens 6 -- Habs 1
Crosby's hat trick where he kicked that puck in.
November 25: Pens 3 -- Habs 1
December 10: Pens 3 -- Habs 2
February 6: Habs 5 -- Pens 3
He just looks shady.
100% sure we saw him working at one of the kiosks at South Hills Village Mall two weeks ago.
He runs a hockey camp every summer for young boys.
All you got to know.
Photoshop from our buddy (buddeh) at The Soft European.
Last year, it was Cam Ward backstopping the Canes on a remarkable run.
But he finally met his maker when he drew the Pens in the ECF.
This season, Halak's current run of impressive goaltending has been magnificent.
He did it in Game 5. It was a fluke.
He did it in Game 6. It was a coincidence.
Then he did it in Game 7.
He has taken on godlike status in Montreal for his first-round performance.
And he'll be a free agent this offseason.
He has nothing to lose, except for millions of dollars.
He'll be the focal point of this series for obvious reasons.
As a result of watching most of the Canadiens first-round games,
it's hard to pinpoint two or three defensemen to look at.
The return of the USS Hal Gill is the biggest subplot in the series.
If he's matched up against Crosby, it will be up to Sid to catch him flat-footed once or twice per game.
There's a reason he was a beast for the Pens last year.
In a 7-game series, you get sick of seeing him.
Andrei Markov is the workhorse, getting 26 minutes per night.
Roman Hamrlik is a joke.
Bergeron and Georges are whatev.
Bergeron was like a minus 8,000 against the Caps, but he scored a huge goal in Game 7.
Georges seems fragile. So does O'Byrne.
Then we get to P.K. Subban. Oh baby.
He came into the Caps series with the Habs down 3 games to 2.
Not only has he held his own, he has gone above and beyond that.
He does unreal dekes with no one around him as he carries the puck out of his zone.
He hasn't committed any egregious turnovers. He's led some rushes up ice.
His passing and stickhandling under pressure in his own zone is great.
One thing we saw is that the Habs forwards aren't used to a d-man carrying the puck that deep into the offensive zone. A couple times, a Habs forward failed to cover Subban's point. Could lead to some odd-man rushes.
It'll be a treat to watch him in this series.
Tons of Stanley Cup experience.
Gionta and Gomez lead the way in that department.
Again, hard to bold-face some of these names and go into detail.
The names on the bottom two or three lines all fuse together.
Right off the bat, Tom Pyatt is gonna be a pain.
There's a reason Dominic Moore keeps finding a place on NHL rosters.
Travis Moen. He is the Habs version of Craig Adams, but he gets a little more playing time.
A guy that championship teams have.
He won the Cup with the Ducks back in the day.
Wonder if he will draw Crosby or Geno.
As far as the big guns go, Mike Cammalleri was everywhere in the Caps series.
You heard Brian Gionta's name more than a few times.
But Scott Gomez is such an enigma.
We'll see Benoit Pouliot scoring some bullshit goal.
Tomas Plekanec's mock turtleneck will have a big series.
The best thing about any series after the first round
is that teams are already showing how they perform in the playoffs.
Montreal PP: 20%.
Pens PK: 68.2%.
In all fairness, Pens gave up a couple of 5-on-3 goals.
But still, a scary number to look at.
Pens PP: 25%.
Montreal PK: 97%.
Montreal shut down the best PP in the league, percentage-wise.
But can't look too much into these matchups.
If you're using numbers to predict how this series will go, Montreal is winning this series.
Because the Penguins couldn't beat the Caps. And Montreal beat the Caps.
If there is one thing the Penguins love to do, it is break goalies. Halak was quoted in saying the more shots he faces, the more comfortable he feels. One thing about the Pens is they really like to set up their shots...or just not shoot at all.
This has the look and feel of a seven-game series. But we'll know early.
There is probably a reason the Habs were the 8th seed in the conference.
After pulling a huge upset against the Craps, it's going to be hard to fly under the radar.
After cheering on the Canadiens in a Game 7 where winning it would send them to Pittsburgh...
a Pens loss in the series is something that will linger with us forever.
But still, Pens in 2.