Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Sens #5
I’ve been there, too!: Erasing a 3-1 series deficit isn’t an impossible task. Nine players in the Canadiens dressing room, including Andrei Markov on two occasions, have already contributed to helping the Habs achieve this feat. In the spring of 2004, Markov, Francis Bouillon and Michael Ryder helped the Canadiens eliminate the Bruins in seven games after having their backs up against the wall following Game 4. Then, in the spring of 2010, Markov, Carey Price, Josh Gorges, P.K. Subban, Brian Gionta, Travis Moen and Tomas Plekanec helped the Habs overcome that same deficit against the Capitals.
A first start: In the absence of Carey Price, Peter Budaj will make his first career start in the postseason. Budaj’s five previous playoff appearances came in a relief role. On three occasions, the Slovak netminder relieved Jose Theodore during the Avalanche-Red Wings series in 2008. He also relieved his counterpart on Thursday night, Craig Anderson, back in 2009, before coming on to replace Carey Price in overtime on Tuesday. In 120 minutes of playing time in the postseason, Budaj has given up eight goals on 71 shots.
See you again on Saturday!: For the 17th time in franchise history, the Habs are facing elimination in Game 5 of a playoff series. It’s the sixth time the Canadiens will contest a Game 5 elimination tilt on home ice. The Habs forced the playing of Game 6 seven times, and on three occasions they pushed the series to seven games.
Today’s youth: Since the start of the playoffs, rookies Brendan Gallagher and Alex Galchenyuk have combined to score three of the Canadiens’ eight total goals. In lighting the lamp, the two young forwards accomplished something that hasn’t been matched by Canadiens players in more than two decades: a forward under the age of 21 scoring a goal in the playoffs. Since 1989, only four defensemen (P.K. Subban, Yannick Weber, Mathieu Schneider and Eric Desjardins) have scored a goal in the playoffs for the Canadiens before blowing out 21 candles on their birthday cakes.
Finding their wings in the final frame: During the regular season, Michel Therrien’s squad dominated their opponents in the third period. The Habs scored 50 goals during the final frame, which ranked them third behind Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh. The Canadiens also gave up only 33 third-period goals in 48 games, tops amongst all team in the NHL. By comparison, since the start of the Canadiens-Senators series, Ottawa has been the dominant force in that regard with nine goals for and none against during final period.