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Early bird gets the worm

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
MONTREAL-- As if the Bruins didn’t already have enough things to worry about in their uphill battle from a 3-1 series deficit, they can now also add impeding the Habs from scoring first to their growing list of concerns.

First it was Sergei Kostitsyn, then Roman Hamrlik, followed by Patrice Brisebois. Each time the Canadiens have drawn first blood against the Bruins in their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series, they’ve come out on top.

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This shouldn’t come as any surprise. After all, the Canadiens did lead the East with a 38-5-6 record when scoring first during the regular season.

The Habs have the Bruins in large part to thank for their conference-leading total. On their way to eight straight regular-season wins over Boston, the Canadiens opened the scoring on all eight occasions. Christopher Higgins led the way by breaking the ice against the B’s three times, followed by Alex Kovalev who did it twice, while Saku Koivu, Tomas Plekanec and Tom Kostopoulos each did it once.

Since the start of the 2008 Playoffs, Guy Carbonneau’s crew isn’t the only one riding the first-goal gravy train. In 29 postseason games so far, teams to score first have a 24-5 record. The advantage is even more lopsided in the Eastern Conference, with the freshly-eliminated Senators being the only team to have failed to win a game in which they scored first by dropping Game 3 against the Penguins after leading 1-0.

Manny Almela is a writer for
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