Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Flyers #2
Shoot to kill: Proving it’s not quantity but quality that matters at this time of year, the Canadiens have been defying the law of large numbers throughout the playoffs thus far. After out-shooting the Flyers 28-25 in Game 1 and losing 6-0, the Habs’ record dropped to 0-4 when getting more shots for than against in a game. The Canadiens inexplicably own a stellar 8-3 record when Jaroslav Halak or Carey Price face more shots than their opponent. But here’s the kicker: the Flyers also fare better when getting outshot, owning a 6-3 record when doing so in the postseason. Turns out, the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds both feel more comfortable playing the role of underdogs afterall…
In a second: In life, timing is everything. While the Canadiens have made good use of getting on the board early in these playoffs, the Flyers prefer to wait roughly 20 minutes to pounce on their opponents. The Habs will have to make sure to talk about shot-blocking and tight defense in the first intermission from here on out, since Philly has scored almost half of their goals – 21 of 43 – in second frames to date.
Tabula rasa: After being blanked by Michael Leighton to kick off the series, the Habs will go back to the drawing board to solve the Flyers’ on-again-off-again-on-again netminder. One strategy? Give it to Andrei Kostitsyn or Tomas Plekanec. While playoff scoring leader Michael Cammalleri drew a lot of attention from Philly D-men in Game 1, the Canadiens’ potential Flyer-killers shouldn’t be ignored, either. Since 2007-08, the Habs have played the Broad Street Bullies 12 times in the regular season. Kostitsyn got in on the scoring in six of those games, and all six ended with a Montreal win. When Pleky gets on the scoresheet against Philly, Montreal has an equally sparkling record, going 4-0 in those outings..
Ring fingers: With a dressing room filled with guys who have been down this road and back, don’t expect the Habs to be hitting the panic button after their loss in Game 1. While the lone Cup champ available to dole out advice in the Philly locker room is Chris Pronger, his teammate in Anaheim in 2006-07, Travis Moen is giving those exact same pointers out in the visitor’s room. When Moen’s not around to speak up and rally the troops, fellow former Cup winners Hal Gill, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez – who has two shiny rings to show for his time in New Jersey – are there to keep the troops in line.
Habs drop Game 1
2010 Playoffs Central