We don’t know when. We don’t know where. We don’t know how. But we do know the Montreal Canadiens and Pittsburgh Penguins will soon meet in a best-of-five series to determine who gets into the traditional Stanley Cup playoff tournament.
Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin spoke after the NHL outlined their “return to play” format, highlighting a number of different topics and providing a few quotes as well.
#Habs Bergevin asked to assess his team's chances vs #Penguins: "I think our chances are as good as any of the 8 teams (allowed into the play-in round). In a short series anything is possible, without putting too much pressure on Carey (Price)."— John Lu (@JohnLuTSNMtl) May 27, 2020
Of course, Bergevin isn’t going to say his team has absolutely no chance to win. Being the twelfth team out of twelve in this play-in tournament doesn’t look good on paper. And the path to victory will be a little harder thanks to the Canadiens being sellers at the trade deadline, trading away Nick Cousins, Nate Thompson, and Ilya Kovalchuk for draft picks.
One player the Habs will have ready to go is Jonathan Drouin:
Bergevin says Drouin is clear to play. Says he's unsure about Mete, but when I spoke with Mete weeks ago, he was well on his way to a full recovery for a broken ankle.— Eric Engels (@EricEngels) May 27, 2020
Throughout his career, Drouin has been a thorn in the Penguins’ side, notching six goals and 10 points in 13 regular season games against the black and gold.
Carey Price will likely have to stand on his head in order to give the Canadiens any chance of beating Pittsburgh. The firepower just doesn’t look like it’s there to carry this squad past a healthy Penguins team, let alone deeper into the playoffs against the likes of the Lightning or Bruins.
Do the Canadiens have a realistic chance at beating the more heavily-favored Penguins? Everything is going against them at this point. But Bergevin is right, anything can happen. And the Canadiens are no strangers to upsetting the Penguins in the playoffs. But as for now, we will wait to find out the answers to the when and where of this soon-to-be entertaining clash for the Cup.