Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Pens #6

Monday, 10.05.2010 / 9:20 AM / News
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Un-saying "Uncle" –  As the UFC circus leaves Montreal to make way for the home-ice return of the Habs, the Canadiens are prepping to do anything but tap out in Game 6. Monday's do-or-die game will already mark the fourth time of these playoffs the Habs have faced an elimination game. Thanks to their comeback from a 3-1 hole to the Caps in Round 1, the Canadiens are 3-0 this spring with their backs against the wall. Dating back to 2004, the Habs are 7-5 on nights their postseason lives have hung in the balance.

A perfect 10  –  If Michael Cammalleri manages to do on Monday what he's done on most nights in the 2010 Playoffs, he will join an impressive club. With already nine goals to his credit, Cammy needs only one more goal to became the 19th player in Habs history to score 10 times in one playoff year, with 15 of those players having done it in a spring that ended with a swig of champagne from the Stanley Cup.

Not about to start now - Monday marks the second time the Habs and Pens have ever played a Game 6. That encounter came in their only other playoff showdown back in 1998. The No. 7 Canadiens bumped off the Penguins that night with a 3-0 win, as a 10-year-old Sidney Crosby and 8-year-old PK Subban watched their favorite team shake hands with Jaromir Jagr & Co.

Right off the bat –  The importance of getting on the board first has been higher than ever during the Habs’ 2010 playoff run to date. With history in their corner, the Canadiens will be looking to score first in Game 6 to add to their 5-2 record when doing so in the postseason. If they don’t score early, they’ll have to score often since the Habs hold just a 1-4 record when they don’t win the race to goal No. 1.

Masked men –  Before the series started, the talk around the league was on the Penguins and their explosive offensive arsenal. Since Game 1, though, the real battle has been between the pipes at both ends of the ice. Jaroslav Halak was the first star in both Canadiens’ victories to date while Marc-Andre Fleury has claimed that same honor in all three of Pittsburgh’s wins in the series.

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See also:
Playoff Central
Game preview #6: Canadiens-Penguins
Shuffling the deck 
Keeping the faith