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Canadiens comfortable bringing tie series to Montreal

by Matt Kalman


(Best-of-7 series tied 1-1)


Big story: Despite the Boston Bruins' 5-3 win in Game 2 of this Eastern Conference Second Round series on Saturday, the Montreal Canadiens still got what they wanted: a road split of the first two games.

Montreal won Game 1 on Thursday, 4-3 in double overtime. The Canadiens think they're right where they want to be heading into Game 3 at Bell Centre on Tuesday.

"We went to play two games where it's tough for any team to play in the NHL and we're out of there with the series tied," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "That's the big picture.

Team scope:

Bruins: If the Bruins are going to wrestle home-ice advantage back from the Canadiens, and maybe even eventually win this series, they're going to have to improve their special teams.

Through two games, the Bruins penalty kill has failed four of nine times and the power play has been fruitless in six tries.

While the power play has at least had its chances, the penalty kill has struggled to put up any resistance to point man P.K. Subban and the Canadiens.

"I think the biggest thing, when you look at the goals they have scored, they have come from the point and somehow we haven't been able to get into that shooting lane," coach Claude Julien said. "You have a guy like [forward Thomas] Vanek [Saturday] who has a great stick around the net. Some great tip-ins by Vanek, but there is no doubt that those shots are getting through from the back end and we just have to get better at that and we are going to keep working on fixing that. If we can do that I think it is going to help a lot."

Canadiens: By earning their split in Boston, the Canadiens now have home-ice advantage. They won their two home games in their first-round sweep of the Tampa Bay Lightning and feel most comfortable in front of their fans. But they won't be able to satisfy those fans if they don't get better at protecting leads. The Canadiens lost leads of 2-1 and 3-1 before winning Game 1. And they lost a 3-1 lead in the third period of Game 2.

However, they're confident they can improve their closing powers.

"There's no sense in celebrating too much after a win or beating yourself up after a loss," defenseman Josh Gorges said. "It doesn't do anything for you for the next game. We know where we stand. We know we have to be better."

Who's hot: Bruins defenseman Dougie Hamilton has two goals and four assists during a five-game point streak. Center Patrice Bergeron has two goals and six assists during a six-game point streak. … Vanek bounced back from a shot-less first game to score two power-play goals in Game 2 for Montreal. Subban has two goals and two assists in this series and a five-game point streak.

Injury report: Boston remains without forward Chris Kelly (back) and defensemen Dennis Seidenberg (ACL/MCL) and Adam McQuaid (ankle). Seidenberg has been practicing, though without contact. McQuaid is out of the season after surgery. … Montreal forward Rene Bourque (illness) missed practice Monday, but took the morning skate Tuesday and will play. Forward Alex Galchenyuk (lower body) skated prior to practice.

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