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Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Caps #4

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Secondary scoring: While the Canadiens’ top six forwards have combined for all of the team’s offense in the first three games, it’s been the Capitals’ supporting cast lighting the lamp at the other end of the rink. With 23 of 35 points in the series coming off the sticks of the likes of third and fourth liners, the Habs will have to pay closer attention to players not named Ovechkin, Semin and Backstrom heading into Game 4.

Be good: The Caps’ once mighty power play has limped through the opening round going 0-for-the-playoffs to date, failing to capitalize on any of the 14 opportunities they’ve had thus far. Still, as Jacques Martin pointed out in his pre-game press conference on Monday morning, the best PK is to stay out of the box altogether. Expect the Habs to be looking to cut down on the 24 penalty minutes accrued in Monday’s tilt.

Shoot!: When Wayne Gretzky said “you miss 100% of the shots you never take”, the Great One could have just as easily been speaking directly to the current Canadiens squad.  In the seven games played between the Habs and Caps this year including the regular season and playoffs, Montreal is 2-for-2 when they’ve fired more than 30 shots and 1-2-2 when they haven’t.     

Call someone out: It worked for Tomas Plekanec and the Habs prior to Game 1 when he took a jab at Jose Theodore. Ditto for Alex Ovechkin when he dissed Jaroslav Halak ahead of Game 3. Might some mild-to-extreme mocking of a Caps player be all the Canadiens need?

The first goal: It may be a cliché, but scoring first in any game sets the tone for what’s to come. Except in the 2010 Playoffs, that is. Of the 23 games played so far this postseason, the team that has scored first has won just 10 times. While scoring first may be important, scoring last can’t hurt, either.

See also:
Time to make history, again
Completely surrounded 
Playoff Central
View More