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Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Lightning #5

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

GOOD THINGS COME IN THREES: Looking alive after pounding the Lightning 6-2 in Tampa on Thursday, Habs fans can dare to dream once again as the series now returns to Montreal for Game 5 – and with good reason. Despite having never climbed out of a three-game hole, a 3-1 series deficit is one the Habs have been able to solve in the not-so-distant past. In just over the last decade, the Canadiens have come back from a pair of 3-1 situations, against the Bruins and Capitals in 2004 and 2010, respectively, to ultimately advance to the next round.

EXPERIENCE COUNTS: Proving just how recent the Canadiens’ two climbs back to life from 1-3 have been, the Habs can currently count on the experience of four players who have been there and done that before. Subban, Tomas Plekanec, and Carey Price – the former two of whom each picked up assists on Thursday, while the latter turned aside 22 shots for the win – were all on the roster for 2010’s comeback against Washington. Even more impressively, Markov – who opened the scoring in Game 4 – was also around to surprise the Bruins in 2004.

SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT (FOR WINNING): After beating the Lightning in the NHL’s toughest barn on Thursday – the Bolts had only dropped nine games at home heading into the postseason – the Canadiens now get set to move into considerably more comfortable territory for Game 5. The Habs’ best night by far during the 2014-15 campaign, Saturdays have been successful for Montreal during the regular season, with the Canadiens losing just three of 22 Saturday night games, including just two on home ice.

BE CLUTCH AND GRAB THE LEAD: Staving off elimination 10 times in do-or-die games since 2010 following Thursday night’s win in Tampa, the Canadiens have been able to count on some of their biggest names to come up with the biggest plays when everything is on the line. In addition to Carey Price’s habitual prowess between the pipes, P.K. Subban continues to distinguish himself as a primetime player. After helping out with a pair of assists in Game 4, including one on Andrei Markov’s opening tally, Subban has now racked up two goals and seven assists – good for a plus-6 differential – when facing the prospect of an earlier than desired offseason.

PRUST OR BUST, PT. 2: Like away goals in soccer, a marker off of Brandon Prust’s stick just seems to be worth that much more when it comes to guaranteeing a win. Prior to the start of the playoffs, it was mentioned that the Habs enjoyed a 13-1-1 record this season when Prust picked up a point, a trend which has also translated to a 3-1 record through 10 playoff games so far. Following Prust’s first postseason tally with the Habs on Thursday however, we dug a little deeper, and it turns out that since arriving in Montreal in 2012, the Canadiens have boasted a 12-4 record when the gritty forward finds the back of the net.


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