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Pick 'em: Like Habs to the slaughter

Continuing our reader polls of who you will win -- or who you want to win -- we turn to the East's 1 vs. 8 seed, perhaps the most lopsided matchup (on paper) of this year's playoffs. The Canadiens, who limped into the playoffs, versus the Capitals, who it feels like clinched the President's Trophy sometime before the final season of "Lost" began.

A Slovakian goalie who's wrested away the pre-ordained job. A trash-talking Czech sniper awaiting a free agent payday. A sublime Russian defenseman. An overpaid but skilled ex-Ranger. Do the Habs have a chance? If you're watching tonight and want to chat it up, you can do that here as well.

Thursday, April 15 at Washington, 7:00 p.m. TSN, VERSUS
Saturday, April 17 at Washington, 7:00 p.m. TSN, VERSUS
Monday, April 19 at Montreal, 7:00 p.m. TSN
Wednesday, April 21 at Montreal, 7:00 p.m. TSN
*Friday, April 23 at Washington, 7:00 p.m. TSN, VERSUS
*Monday, April 26 at Montreal, 7:00 p.m. TSN, VERSUS
*Wednesday, April 28 at Washington, TBD TSN

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(1) Washington Capitals (54-15-13) vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens (39-33-10)

SBN coverage: Japers' Rink | Habs Eyes on the Prize

Reasons to Pick the Caps:
General dominance from top to crease blueline. The usual praise from left to right.

Reasons to Pick the Habs: There aren't any, really. So let's go with this: The traditional narrative for ascending dominant teams includes some stumbles before they get over the hump. Many assume last year was the Capitals' stumble -- that Game 7 home chokejob against the eventual champs. But history tells us sometimes these teams stumble multiple times. The Islanders' first Cup win didn't come until after they had fallen back -- in the regular season -- after multiple seasons of 100+ point finishes in the late '70s that ended in semifinal or even quarterfinal losses.

It's not likely, but monumental brain farts from dominant teams in cruise control do happen.

Reasons to Root for the Caps: You like any one of their many impressive stars. You want to see a Caps-Pens rematch.

Reasons to Root for the Habs: like underdogs? Other than historic connections with the Habs or hatred for the Caps (you know, they do revere Dale Hunter), I can't imagine why I'd wish the Caps to fall this round. I want to see a long series with them against a better opponent.

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Head Says: Caps in five. Heart Says: Gosh, I have no heart in this. But I just want the Caps to advance to face a strong opponent or two.