Montreal Canadiens 2013-2014 NHL Season Preview and Predictions
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
The Montreal Canadiens had a surprising season that led them back into the playoffs quicker than most people thought possible. That ended abruptly with a quick ousting at the hands of the rival Ottawa Senators and they embarrassed themselves in the process. Still, it should be a good learning experience for a talented goup that returns mostly in tact.
Quick, diminutive forwards seem to be all the rage in Montreal and they'll all be back in the fold this year. Danny Briere joins the mix after his buyout with the Philadelphia Flyers and he'll join other small, talented players like Brian Gionta, Tomas Pelkanec, Alex Galchenyuk, David Desharnais, and Renee Bourque. Brandon Prust, Ryan White, and Travis Moen will be called upon to protect all of them, but there's so many that those three might be exhausted by the time we hit the All-Star break. That's why George Parros was brought in from Anaheim to help make sure things run smoothly, especially in those brutal divisional games. Briere could be a very valuable pick up but the pressure will be on him playing in front of the home crowd fans in Montreal.
P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov will be back in the fold, along with Josh Gorges, Jarred Tinordi, Alexei Emelin, and Raphael Diaz. It's a slick, smooth skating defense corps that can really help the forwards utilize their speed and transition the puck. Subban is elite in the offensive zone and on the power play and the Canadiens will need their defense to move the puck quickly because where Montreal can really get into trouble is when they're defending in their own zone.
Carey Price returns between the pipes and he'll give the Canadiens a chance to win every night out. He posted 21 wins last season and wil be counted on yet again to play probably 70+ games for Montreal. With the way the playoff format is this season all of these games against divisional foes are going to be crucial, and they're going to need Price playing at the top of his game.
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