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Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #3

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Building Blocks: Taking a cue from what helped them reach the conference finals last season, the Habs have shown up ready to sacrifice in 2011, already blocking 46 shots on goal in their first two games against the Bruins. That number is a sharp contrast to the 21 blocked shots posted by Claude Julien’s troops, with only eight of them coming in Game 2. So far, it’s Brent Sopel that’s jumped in front of the most rubber for the Canadiens, blocking a total of seven shots over the course of the first two games of the series.

First Strike: Three minutes and 27 seconds. 187 seconds. However you want to say it, that’s the very short window of time the Bruins spent not playing catchup hockey on the way to the Habs nabbing a 2-0 lead in the series. The seven other series currently underway around the NHL have also demonstrated the value of drawing first blood, as teams to score first have gone on to win 12 out 14 matchups over the first four days of playoff action.

Make it Count: Saturday night against the Bruins, Michael Cammalleri potted his 14th playoff goal as a member of the Canadiens, managing to reach that number in only 21 second season games with the club. In the 11 postseason games that Cammalleri has lit the lamp for the Habs, the team has gone on to post a record of eight wins and only three losses.

Yannick of All Trades: While he may be a defenseman by nature, Yannick Weber was anything but out of place when his coach tapped him to play as a forward in Game 2. Called upon to replace Andrei Kostitsyn against the Bruins, the young defenseman/forward not only held his own, but notched his second career playoff goal in only four postseason appearances, having already recorded a goal and an assist over three tilts against the Bruins in the spring of 2009. Weber registered one goal and 11 helpers in 50 regular season games over three years with the Habs stretching black to 2007-08.

Take a Cue from the Past: Saturday in Boston, the Canadiens stole the first two games of a playoff series on the road for the fifth time in team history. However, the last two times the Canadiens managed to accomplish the feat, they weren't able to hold on to take the series, losing in 2006 to Carolina and in 1996 to the Rangers. But if the latest incarnation of the Habs needs a bit of inspiration, all they need do is look a little further into the past to 1968 when the Canadiens swept St. Louis in four games and 1951 when they bested Detroit in six.

Alexandre Harvey is a writer for Translated by Justin Fragapane.

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