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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Playoff Preview: Canadiens vs Bruins (Round 2, Game 3)

HabsBruinsPlayoffs
Match Up:

The Canadiens welcome the Bruins to the Bell Centre Tuesday night when they host just their third home game of the playoffs, the fewest of any team still fighting for the Cup. The game starts at 7:00 and will air on RDS and CBC.

The series is tied 1-1 after the Bruins once again overcame a 2-goal deficit in the third period Saturday afternoon. This time around the Bruins were able to complete their comeback when Riley Smith beat Carey Price with a wrist shot after receiving a cross-ice pass from Torey Krug. An empty-net goal from Milan Lucic pushed the final score to 5-3.Zdeno Chara had 1 assist in Game 2 and finished the match with a plus-5 rating.

What to Watch:

For the second straight game, the Canadiens tallied a pair of power play goals on Saturday, both were Thomas Vanek deflections of PK Subban shots. The Habs are 4-for-9 with the man advantage in 2 games against the Bruins after going 2-for-13 against the Lightning in Round 1. On the penalty kill side of special teams the Habs have not only shut down the Bruins through 2 games (thanks largely to some stellar play from Carey Price), they've also been well-disciplined. The Canadiens have allowed just 12 power plays against in 6 games, less than any other team so far this postseason.

The Bruins were shut out in their first playoff game this year, a 1-0 loss to the Wings, but Patrice Bergeron has found the scoresheet in every game since. Bergeron has 2 goals and 6 assists in his last 6 games, picking up a helper in each. Brad Marchand was held pointless in the opening round but has 4 assists already in 2 games against the Canadiens.

What's at Stake:

By splitting the first two games in Boston, the Canadiens return to Montreal with home ice advantage but they'll need to win the next 2 games to keep it. Both teams will be looking to improve after the opening two games, the Bruins found themselves trailing by a pair in the third period of each game while the Habs were unable to hold onto those 2-goal leads despite stellar goaltending.

Who's Out:

Alex Galchenyuk (knee) has started skating on his own but does not seem close to a return. Rene Bourque (flu) missed Monday's practice, there's been no word yet on whether he's expected to miss Tuesday's game.

Michel Therrien will have some choices to make in terms of healthy scratches for Game 3. On defense, Douglas Murray skated in Francis Bouillon's spot during Monday's practice. Meanwhile Travis Moen was scratched in Game 2 after playing his first game since returning from injury in Game 1, and Ryan White has yet to play in the playoffs, both were on the fourth line in practice. Brandon Prust was skating as an extra forward in the latest practice, there's speculation that he's been playing injured throughout the playoffs.

The Bruins are still missing Dennis Seidenberg (lower body), Chris Kelly (back) and Adam McQuaid (ankle).

What Else:

After getting called for icing a stunning 12 times in Game 1, the Canadiens improved dramatically in Game 2 icing the puck just 3 times. For their part, the Bruins have hardly had trouble in that department, they've iced the puck just 5 times in two games against the Habs. The Canadiens will  want to avoid defensive zone faceoffs as much as possible, they've been out-dueled at the dot 88 to 68 so far in the series. That's a mere 43.6% success rate for Montreal.

The Question Mark:

We want to hear from you: Has this Habs-Bruins series lived up to your expectations so far or has there been something missing?

Let us know what you think, leave a comment or send us a tweet using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

Be sure to tune into the Montreal Hockey Talk Pregame Show an hour before the puck drop and the Post Game Show 5 minutes after the final siren. Join the live conversation by using the #MTLHockey hashtag on Twitter.

2 comments:

That's better but still too soft when defending a lead. Price can't keep winning games by himself. Too many icings when they are not needed. These are supposed to be Pros, don't know how to flip puck to centre ice rather than ice it.

Should be up 3-0.

Puck Daddy is a hockey site that has an article today dissing Montreal the team and the new playoff song, lets go give this loser a piece of our mind.

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