Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #1

Wednesday, 13.04.2011 / 4:10 PM / News
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Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #1
The Specialists: Special teams are often the difference in any playoff game, but the Canadiens will find out just how important they really are when they meet the Bruins in the conference quarterfinals. Boston led the league with 177 goals 5-on-5 this season, but when it comes to the power play, the Habs have the advantage, capitalizing on a seventh-best 19.7% of their chances to the Bruins’ 16.2%. .

Score first: More often than not, the team that scores first will win the game. That will be key for the Canadiens, who won 72.7% of the time when opening the scoring and managed to come from behind just 31.6% of the time. Boston won a slightly lower 71.4% of the time when scoring first, but managed to erase an early deficit and win 40% of the time when not leading right off the bat.

Whitewashes: Based on the performances of Carey Price and Tim Thomas this season, the Habs and Bruins might need to be more focused on scoring at all than just scoring first. Thomas and Price finished two-three in the NHL with nine and eight shutouts, respectively, this year. Thomas also led the league with a .938 save percentage and 2.00 goals-against average while Price tied for first with 38 wins.

Put a ring on it: Two players in the Bruins room have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup, including Shawn Thornton – who won it alongside Travis Moen in Anaheim in 2007 – and Mark Recchi, who won his first with the Penguins in 1990-91 exactly 15 years before winning his second with the Hurricanes in 2005-06. There’s a lot more bling to go around in the Habs dressing room, with five different players sporting Cup rings of their own. Brian Gionta, Hal Gill, Scott Gomez, who won two Cups with the Devils, Moen and trade deadline acquisition Brent Sopel have all gone the distance in the Stanley Cup playoffs. 

Shut it down: The Habs thrive on second period goals, notching 86 of 213 in the middle frame in 2010-11. They’ll need a little extra pep in their steps to keep the Bruins from scoring in their favorite period, notching 94 of their 244 total goals in the final 20 minutes of games this season.


Shauna Denis is a writer for canadiens.com.


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