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Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Pens #3

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens
Pass it to Cammy!: Currently second in the playoff scoring race with eight goals in nine games so far, Michael Cammalleri hasn’t had any trouble finding the back of the net this spring. With the Habs boasting a 4-2 record when Cammalleri lights the lamp and just a 1-1-1 record when he doesn’t, making sure the 27-year-old sniper has the puck on his stick as much as possible might not be a bad idea for the Canadiens to consider going forward against the Pens. 

The other No. 13: While it’s no question Cammalleri has been clutch for the Canadiens in the postseason, the Penguins’ No. 13 has been doing some major damage of his own. Most of the focus in the series so far has been on shutting down Pens superstar Sidney Crosby, but keeping wily veteran Bill Guerin off the scoresheet might be even more important if the Habs are going to upset the defending Stanley Cup champs. So far in the playoffs, Pittsburgh is 5-0-1 when Guerin registers at least one point and 0-2 when he doesn’t.

The Emperor Penguins: Keeping Sidney Crosby off the scoresheet is one thing; keeping last year’s Conn Smythe Trophy winner Evgeni Malkin off it at the same time is quite another. That’s exactly what the Canadiens managed to do in their 3-1 win over the Pens on Sunday afternoon, marking just the ninth time – and the second by the Habs – this year that both Pittsburgh superstars were held pointless in a game. Of those nine pointless games by Crosby and Malkin in 2009-10, the Penguins have won just three. 

Getting rusty: Since the start of the playoffs, the Habs have been held to just three shots in three separate second periods. In those outings, Games 6 and 7 in Washington and Game 2 in Pittsburgh, the strategy of lulling the opposing netminder to sleep seems to have paid dividends for the Canadiens, who finished on the winning end of all three of those games.   

It starts from the circle: With depth down the middle that includes the likes of Crosby and Malkin, the faceoff circle has been front and center throughout the Habs-Pens series. Despite being on the road for Games 1 and 2, the Canadiens have been using their draws to their advantage, winning 61% and 66% respectively of their offensive faceoffs, proving that sometimes the best defense really is a good offense.

See also:
Playoff Central
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Habs all even with Pens 
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