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Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #2

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Stick to the Script: Winning the first game of a Canadiens-Bruins playoff series has historically been key to winning the series itself. In their 32 previous postseason meetings, the team that walked away with a Game 1 victory has gone on to take the whole series a whopping 27 times. The odds become even greater for the team that can jump out to a 2-0 lead, which has happened a total of 22 times. Boston stands as the only team to have blown such a lead when, in 2004, the Bruins squandered both 2-0 and 3-1 series leads, as the Canadiens stormed back to take the round in seven games.

Follow the Leader: Canadiens’ captain Brian Gionta led the charge in the Habs' first playoff game, potting the only two goals of the night for the second two-goal game of his playoff career. Over the course of his nine postseasons in the NHL, the teams Gionta happens to be playing for at the time have posted a record of eight wins and only three losses when Gio finishes his night with at least two points.

Anything to declare?: “Yes, two wins, thank you!” If the Canadiens can touch down in Dorval after Saturday night’s game with two wins in their carry-on luggage, it would mark the 72nd time in the history of the NHL that a team has stolen the first two games of a playoff series on enemy ice. In 54 of those 72 occasions, that same team has been the one smiling when the clubs close out their series with the traditional handshakes at center ice.

You’ll be seeing a lot of me: Even if Game 1 against the Bruins only marked P.K. Subban’s second foray into the postseason, it’s not hard to see that the young defenseman has Jacques Martin’s full confidence on his side. In the Habs’ first playoff game of 2011, the Canadiens’ No. 76 spent a remarkable 27:07 battling the Bruins on the ice. With the exception of the Kings-Sharks and Rangers-Capitals games that both went into overtime, Subban stands as the third most used player in a first game, passed only by the likes of the Hawks’ Duncan Keith and the Penguins’ Kris Letang.

Keep your head up: While it might still be hard to say just how Ryan White will fare in the playoffs after only his first game against the Bruins, one thing is for sure: he certainly makes the most of the time given to him. In only 7:51 of ice time, White still managed to throw a game-high seven hits – putting him at about a hit per minute – likely causing Boston squad to hope that Jacques Martin decide to add to the young forward's work load.

Alexandre Harvey is a writer for Translated by Justin Fragapane.

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