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Prust's return to form is good news for Canadiens

by Arpon Basu

BROSSARD, Quebec -- Welcome to the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Brandon Prust.

You arrived just in time.

Prust played what was easily his best game of the playoffs in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-0 win against the Boston Bruins in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference Second Round series on Monday.

"I felt I had my legs back and was skating well, lots of energy," Prust said Tuesday before the team left for Boston. "I've just got to keep building from there."

If Prust can indeed build on that in Game 7 on Wednesday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS), it will be like coach Michel Therrien added a new player.

Prust missed all but four games between the Olympic break and the end of the regular season, and he struggled in the early going of the playoffs with his skating and, particularly, his ability to shoot the puck.

In the first round against the Tampa Bay Lightning, Prust had a number of chances when he wasn't able to get enough on his shot to finish, and in Game 5 against Boston he had two opportunities to clear the puck on the same penalty kill that failed because he didn't shoot it hard enough.

The Canadiens insist Prust is fully recovered from whatever was bothering him over the final stretch of the regular season, but he didn't look like it until Monday.

Prust was credited with seven hits in 11:18 of ice time, and he might have been robbed of a couple. He was the physical, energetic forward he normally is, and there might have been a reason behind it.

Ever since Canadiens anthem singer and Quebec cultural icon Ginette Reno shook Daniel Briere's hand before Game 4 against the Lightning, only to have Briere score on his first shift of the game, there's been special attention paid to who Reno touches when she leaves the ice after her rendition of "O Canada."

Before Game 6 against Boston, she shook Prust's hand.

"There's where I usually kind of sit, so I made sure I got there and got a little lucky touch there," Prust said. "Yeah, I felt I had a pretty solid game, one of my better games of the playoffs.

"I didn't get a goal, but I hear sometimes it can come a game late."

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