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Bruins, Canadiens ready for Game 7

by Adam Schwartz

Can forward Phil Kessel and the Boston Bruins pull off a big first-round upset over rookie goalie Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens tonight in Game 7 at the Bell Centre?
After a busy weekend has dwindled the playoff pool to 11 teams, Monday night will see at least one more team eliminated.

The Boston Bruins and Montreal Canadiens will square off in this postseason's first Game 7 and the Washington Capitals will try to even their series with the Philadelphia Flyers in Game 6.

Here's what to keep an eye out for:

* After yielding just five goals in the first four games of the series, Montreal goalie Carey Price has given up 10 goals in his last two games as the Bruins have come back from a 3-1 deficit to even the series. Price, who was thrust into the starting role when Habs GM Bob Gainey traded Cristobal Huet for a second-round draft pick during trade-deadline day, has faced more than 31 shots just once during this series. 

* Montreal right wing Steve Begin, who totaled just eight points in 44 regular season games, has three assists and a plus-3 rating in this series. Begin, who had three of his eight regular-season points against the Bruins, leads the team with 30 hits.

* Just five players in the Montreal-Boston series have won the Stanley Cup – Alex Kovalev, Mathieu Dandenault, Patrice Brisebois, Aaron Ward and Shawn Thornton. Only Ward and Dandenault have won the Cup multiple times.

* Montreal captain Saku Koivu returned from a left foot injury Saturday in Montreal's 5-4 loss in Game 6 against the Bruins, but Koivu assisted on two of the Habs' four goals. Koivu has recorded more than five points in the playoffs just two times and has not been past the second round.

* Boston left wing Marco Sturm, who had the second-most points on the team with 56 during the regular season, has two goals and two assists for four points in this series, including two goals and one assist in his last two games – both Bruins wins. Sturm, who has no giveaways in the playoffs, has played at least 17 minutes in his last four games.

* The Bruins, who had four goal scorers in their 5-4 victory in Game 6, have just two players with more than four points in the series. The Bruins were the last team to lose a series after leading 3-1 in 2004 when the Canadiens – coached by current Boston coach Claude Julien – defeated them in seven games.

* Boston center David Krejci, who had just one assist in five regular-season games against the Habs, has one goal and four assists for five points this series. Krejci, who averaged just 14:55 of ice time per game in the regular season, is averaging 19:23 of ice time per game in the playoffs.

* Philadelphia center R.J. Umberger, who had two goals and three assists for five points in four games against Washington during the regular season, has just one goal and no assists in the first five games of this series. Umberger, who had just one goal in five games in his previous playoff season in 2006, had two assists in six games during the regular season.

* The Flyers, who have scored at least four goals in three games against the Capitals, have scored the most even-strength goals in the playoffs with 12. Philadelphia, which has a better penalty kill than just one remaining team in the playoffs, has scored the most first-period goals in the League with eight.

* Flyers right wing Mike Knuble, who has never played more than seven playoff games in a season, set a career high with five points in five games in this series. Knuble, who has scored at least 20 goals in five consecutive regular seasons, has never scored more than two goals in a playoff season.

* Washington left wing Alex Semin, who scored the game-winning goal Saturday in Game 5 to keep the Capitals alive, leads the team with two goals and four assists for six points in the series. Semin, who is in his first playoff season, averaged .67 points per game during the regular season

* Capitals defenseman Mike Green, who leads NHL defensemen with seven points, has a minus-2 rating. Green, who scored the most goals among defensemen in the League with 18 during the regular season, had not scored more than two goals in either of his previous two seasons.

* Washington center Nicklas Backstrom, who won five of seven faceoffs in Game 5, has two goals and one assist in his last two games. Backstrom, who is tied for third among the NHL's rookies with four points, is the only rookie in the League with two power-play points.

* Capitals center David Steckel, who led rookies with a 56.3 faceoff winning percent in the regular season, has just a 36 percent faceoff winning percentage in the playoffs. Steckel, who is a defensive oriented forward, is second in the League with nine takeaways in the playoffs.  

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