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Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #4

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Stay Perfect:: With a league-high 327 penalties handed down to them over the course of the 2010-11 season, it’s safe to say the Habs have had no lack of practice playing shorthanded. Thankfully, all that practice seems to be coming in handy so far this spring. Over their first three games against the Bruins, Jacques Martin’s troops have managed to stifle Boston on all 11 of its power-play opportunities. As nice as it is to still be perfect on the penalty-kill, staying out of the box altogether is an even better alternative to keeping an opponent off the scoresheet.

My Favourite Team: Since making the trip across the Atlantic to jump-start his North American hockey career, Andrei Kostitsyn has been bent on putting his mark on the historic Canadiens-Bruins rivalry. With already 22 points in 27 career regular-season games against the Bruins – a personal best out of any team in the NHL – Kostitsyn tacked on a seventh point in 13 playoff games against Boston on Monday night. Out of 24 games against the three other teams he’s faced in the postseason, Kostitsyn has registered a total of 11 points.

Rest is Overrated: The Canadiens current playoff schedule sees them “benefiting” from a two day hiatus before their next matchup against the Bruins. Hitting the ice too well rested, however, hasn’t always spelled success for the Habs over the last 15 years. Luckily, the 2010 edition of the Canadiens were finally able to put an end to a series of six consecutive losses, spanning all the way back to 1994, that came when the team had a two day break between two games in the same series.

Take a Cue from the Past II: In last year’s semi-final against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Jacques Martin’s squad managed to also snuff out another troubling trend that had been lingering since 2004 – losing games 3 and 4 of a playoff series at home. After getting swept at home five times in a row, the 2010 Canadiens managed to turn the tables on the Penguins, posting a win in the fourth game of their series at the Bell Centre. A repeat this year against the Bruins would be very welcome.

Reap What You Sow: With the first 23 games of the 2011 playoffs already in the bag, it’s quickly become obvious that the initial 20 minutes of play are where games are being lost or won. Out of the 16 times a team has gone to the dressing room with the lead after one period, only twice has the opposition come back to steal the victory.

Alexandre Harvey is a writer for Translated by Justin Fragapane.

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