Photo: Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images/AFP
The Canadian hopes to see the changing up its game a notch, while the Penguins will aim for a long march to a third title in five years.
The tournament of revival of the NHL gets underway Saturday with the presentation of five matches of the qualification round.
This new round, contested in the best-of-five matches, could allow teams out of the race when the suspension of the season in march, to cause surprises.
Here is an overview of the eight qualifying rounds :
(5) Penguins vs. (12) Canadian
All the indicators point in favor of the Penguins, except the evaluation of the guards. Since his arrival with the canadiens, Carey Price carried the Habs to the finals in the association only once, in 2014. The time begins to press, the guardian star, who will celebrate his 33rd birthday next month, and defenceman Shea Weber, who will be 35 years old next month. The Canadian hopes to see the changing up its game a notch, while the Penguins will aim for a long march to a third title in five years.
(6) Hurricanes vs. (11) Rangers
The Rangers have all the tools to topple the Hurricanes and chain the surprises during the summer. Artemi Panarin, a finalist for the trophies, a Hart and Ted-Lindsay, and Mika Zibanejad were filling the nets night after night before the shutdown. The Rangers also rely on a young defensive mobile and a guard recruit, Igor Shesterkin, which could give a headache to the attack of the Hurricanes. On the other side, the hopes of the Hurricanes rely on a team defensive led by Dougie Hamilton and Jaccob Slavin.
(7) Islanders vs. (10) Panthers
After winning a second series, since 1993, the last spring, the Islanders are hoping to confirm their place among the contenders in the East. However, they will have to find a way to break through the wall of Sergei Bobrovsky. The latter will try to take advantage of the series to buy a first campaign to be disappointing with the Panthers, who have given a contract for seven seasons and $ 70 million last summer.
(8) Maple Leafs vs. (9) Blue Jackets
Now led by Sheldon Keefe, the Maple Leafs hope to finally meet the expectations placed in them during the past few seasons. However, the Blue Jackets have the tools to bar their path, with the defender Seth Jones, the centre Pierre-Luc Dubois and two guards who can deliver the goods — Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins. The Blue Jackets were still in the race this spring in spite of many injured important. With the return to health of Jones, Cam Atkinson and Oliver Bjorkstrand, they cannot be taken lightly in the East.
(5) Oilers vs. (12) Blackhawks
The Oilers are ready to take another step in their rebuild with a long history of series. With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, they have the strike force to get rid quickly of the Blackhawks, including the situation in front of the net is precarious. Corey Crawford has found his form of beautiful days this winter, but began the camp stimulus in delay due to a positive test, the COVID-19. Since they traded Robin Lehner for the Golden Knights prior to the trade deadline, Malcolm Subban is the other option for the Blackhawks in front of the net.
(6) Predators vs. (11) Coyotes
Juuse Saros has gotten 14 starts in the last 18 games of the Predators before the shutdown of the NHL this spring. It should have the opportunity to prove that he is ready to take the place of Pekka Rinne, but the latter represents a lifeline of luxury if ever Saros is experiencing trouble. The Coyotes have bet big with the acquisition of Taylor Hall in December, but they were in full slip, with only eight wins in their last 25 games before the 12 march. Experience in series of the Predators and their depth should give them an advantage.
(7) Canucks vs. (10) Wild
The Canucks are on the upward slope since the arrival of Elias Pettersson and the development of a good kernel to attack, while the Wild is trying hard to stay afloat for a few seasons. The defensive Canucks remains his weakness, while goalkeeper Jacob Markstrom could play big, he could become an unrestricted free agent this fall. On the side of the Wild, the kernel aging will need the support of young people such as Kevin Fiala and Ryan Donato if he wishes to prolong the adventure.
(8) Llamas (9) Jets
Both teams rely on offensive with potential explosives, but the defensive with question marks. The difference is in front of the net. Connor Hellebuyck was brilliant this winter for the Jets and has certainly not stolen its appointment to the trophy Vezina. On the side of the Flames, David Rittich, and Cam Talbot are capable of the best as the worst. As much Flames as the Jets are capable of fireworks and win 7-6, but the Jets have more of a chance to stifle opposing offenses.