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Five Keys to the Game : Habs-Caps #3

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Anything to declare?: Objective No. 1 for the Canadiens heading into Washington last week was to land in Montreal with at least one win stowed in their overhead cabins. And it’s a good thing they did – no eighth seeded team has ever erased a 2-0 deficit when falling behind to a No. 1 seed in the first round in NHL history. Among the eight teams since 1994 who have dethroned the top-ranked favorites in the opening round, only No. 8 Anaheim in 2009 managed to come strutting back home for Game 3 owning a 2-0 lead.

Hats off, Andrei!: When Andrei Kostitsyn potted his third goal of the game on Saturday night, he registered the 34th hat trick in Canadiens playoff history. His trio of goals also marked the first time since Eric Desjardins in the infamous “Marty McSorley illegal stick” game of 1993 that a Habs player has completed the trick in the postseason. With 18 playoff games under his belt, the elder Kostitsyn brother now has nine goals to show for his efforts, giving him a 0.50 goals per game average that ranks him 15th among active skaters in the “second season”.

Third time’s a charm: Fans worried about staying up past their bed times for a third straight game can rest easy heading into Monday’s game. While the first two games needed overtime to determine a winner, only two series in NHL history have ever gone into extra time three games in a row: Colorado-Minnesota in 2008, and Montreal-Toronto in the 1951 Stanley Cup Finals, in which the Leafs managed to sweep the series with four-straight OT wins.

Dents in the armor: Playing a team like the Capitals who aren’t afraid to shoot from anywhere on the ice any chance they get, the Habs have managed to continue on their regular season roll that saw them finish third in the league with 1,344 blocked shots. Led by Hal Gill and the 12 giant welts he’s suffered so far in the series, the Canadiens are No. 1 in the playoffs to date with a combined 59 blocked shots. 

Powerless play: The Capitals’ lethal power play that scored 25.2% of the time in the regular season has been dormant so far in the playoffs. Thanks to tight checking and fearless shot blocking, the Canadiens have snuffed out all seven Caps power plays in the season and will need to continue to do more of the same on Monday night to keep Washington’s potent offense at bay.

See also:
Home, sweet home
Backstrom's OT goal gives Caps 6-5 win  
Split decision 
The Numbers game - April 17, 2010 
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