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Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Lightning #4

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

IT TAKES TWO…OR THREE: Carey Price’s name is already being engraved on the Jennings Trophy and three more major NHL awards could end up on his mantle by the end of June. Despite the heroic season the Habs’ netminder has had between the pipes, a little cushion at the other end wouldn’t hurt his cause. When his teammates scored two or three goals in a game in 2014-15, Price went 21-7-3 in the regular season and 3-1 in the playoffs. The odds tilt even further in the Canadiens’ favor when the team lights the lamp at least four times, as Price went 19-0-1 in such circumstances during the year, in addition to a 4-3 win over the Senators in Game 1 of the postseason.

EVEN STRENGTH: A lot has been said about the Canadiens’ power play woes since the playoffs began, but things aren’t exactly rosy for the team currently leading the league in power play efficiency this spring. Sitting in an identical 0-3 series hole despite owning a sparkling 30% efficiency with the man advantage, the Minnesota Wild are proof that scoring with the opposing team in the penalty box doesn’t guarantee wins when it comes to the postseason. In fact, the four teams currently in the driver’s seat in their respective series are also the Top 4 teams in the NHL in goals-for ratio at five-on-five.

BACK TO THE BELL CENTRE: Having participated in five of the last six postseasons, the Canadiens have obviously been up against elimination more than a few times. But the Habs have never been known to give up without a fight. Facing elimination for the first time in 2015, the Canadiens currently own a 9-4 record in do-or-die playoff games since 2010, and they’ll be looking to bring that win column into double digit territory on Thursday night to force a Game 5 at the Bell Centre on Saturday.

MAKING HISTORY: In 105 years of history, the Canadiens have almost accomplished everything. One of the rare exploits still waiting to be checked off by the iconic franchise could be dealt with this spring. The Habs have never managed to rally back from a 0-3 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. While it’s a rare feat to erase such a monumental lead – only 2.2% of 0-3 series have ever ended with a storybook comeback – the Canadiens won’t have to dig too far back in the history books for inspiration. Just last year, the Los Angeles Kings beat the San Jose Sharks after trailing 0-3, before going on to hoist the Stanley Cup a few weeks later.

SHOOTING GALLERY: Brendan Gallagher is willing to throw everything he has at Ben Bishop to get the Habs on the board. The author of the team’s lone goal on Wednesday night, Gallagher – who celebrated his 23rd birthday in Game 3 – has been testing netminders with gusto all spring long. In nine games since the playoffs began, the gritty winger has fired 38 shots on goal, currently sitting second in the NHL behind Alex Ovechkin in that category.


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