The Habs this week - April 6, 2009
Canadiens vs. Senators – Monday, April 6 @ 7:30 PM
While the club has, for the most part, flourished under interim bench boss Cory Clouston, lately their road woes have led to more losses than wins. The Senators went 2-4-0 during a six-game road trip that wrapped up on Thursday and has won just three of their last 10 away from Scotiabank Place. In the past, visits to Montreal were a fine tonic for Ottawa but that hasn’t been the case in their last four Bell Centre visits; the Canadiens have taken three straight as the hosts, outscoring their division rival 16-8 in those contests.
Canadiens @ Rangers – Tuesday, April 7 @ 7 PM
Though they’re all big games for the Habs this week, it’s no secret that Tuesday’s tilt holds high importance for both teams. Heading into the week, the Canadiens own a three-point advantage over the Rangers, who went to bed Sunday night with the Florida Panthers beside them in eighth place. Despite dropping their last two outings, however, New York enjoyed a successful month of March at Madison Square Garden, going 5-1-0.
Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist may have earned Vezina nominations in each of his three seasons in the league but the Habs have found ways to get the puck behind him. Over the last two years, the Canadiens have scored at least three goals in six of their seven meetings, including 15 in the three so far this year.
Canadiens @ Bruins – Thursday, April 9 @ 7 PM
Claude Julien’s crew struggled for a stretch from late February to mid-March but appears to have regained their form, winners of six straight as of Monday.
While the idea of the Bruins cheering for the Canadiens in any form might have one feel as though they’re in “bizarro world,” it’s possible they will be doing just that. The Habs currently sit in seventh place and if the season ended on Monday, would face the Capitals, which likely would please the Eastern Conference leaders. Over the years, Boston and Montreal have met 31 times in the postseason and 24 of those series have gone in favor of the bleu, blanc, rouge. Two of their last three playoff meetings have seen the Habs ranked as the lower seed, yet gone on to knock off the Bruins.
Canadiens vs. Penguins – Saturday, April 11 @ 7 PM
The Penguins had a chance to create a three-way logjam for fourth in the East over the weekend but picked up just one point in an overtime loss on Saturday. It marked the first time since March 14 that Sidney Crosby and Co. had fallen in consecutive games and the first time since February 16 that they’d failed to pick up at least two points.
Close contests have been the name of the game in the three meetings thus far; two of three have been decided by one goal while the other was a two-goal margin. The Canadiens own a pair of victories against the Penguins this season and have held the club to just two goals in those outings.
Heather Engel is a writer for canadiens.com
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