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Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins Game 1

Thursday, 16.04.2009 / 12:00 PM / News
canadiens.com
Muscle Flexing
While analysts across the board are drooling over the Bruins’ toughness, underestimating the grit inside the Habs’ dressing room is a mistake.  Throughout the regular season, no less than seven Canadiens dished out over 100 punishing body checks, good enough for sixth in the NHL in that category.  Meanwhile, in Boston, only one player managed to crack the triple-digit benchmark. With 262 body checks on the year, the lone Bruin to enter into the century club was Milan Lucic, who finished sixth among league leaders in hits.

Home Ice Disadvantage
Heading into a series as the higher seed comes with a few perks, including the right to home ice advantage.  When it comes to the Montreal-Boston rivalry, though, starting the series off on home soil has been more trouble than it’s worth for the Bruins.  Since 1958, when Game 1 kicks off in Boston, the Canadiens have swooped in to play the spoiler 50% of the time, winning three of six such match-ups in Beantown.
 
Déjà Vu
Despite the change in venue for the series opener, the storyline looks a lot like it did in the first round last year. Two-thirds of the players suiting up in this series faced each other at the same time last year, when the Habs took Round 1 in seven games.  Two of those players in particular have traded places, including the newest addition to the Canadiens' roster, Glen Metropolit, who scored the game-winner for the Bruins in Game 5 last season.  Over in the bear’s den, former Hab Michael Ryder will face his former team wearing the black and gold this time around.

Kostitsyn2
In last year’s playoffs, Sergei and Andrei Kostitsyn exploded out of the gate, producing a combined 11 points against the Bruins. The elder Belarusian notched three goals and added two assists in the series, while baby brother Sergei lit the lamp three times in addition to his three helpers.

Experience

Both teams boast incredibly rich histories.  The Canadiens have been celebrating the franchise’s Centennial in style this season, while the Bruins recently turned 85-years-young.  The two Original Six teams also have their fair share of playoff games under their collective belts, with postseason experience in both dressing rooms hitting the high-triple digits.  Current Montrealers have suited up for a combined 982 playoff match-ups, while the Bruins’ total is a slightly more modest 847 games played.  Both team’s totals stem both from young talent who got their first taste of postseason action last year plus veteran leaders who own decades of NHL experience.  

Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com

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