Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Lightning #3
Two tendencies: There are two ways to look at a playoff series when the Canadiens take a commanding 2-0 lead over a given opponent. The first 51 times the Habs came out on top in the first two games of a best-of-seven series, they went on to win that series 47 times. On the four occasions in which the Canadiens amassed those all-important victories on the road, however, the bleu-blanc-rouge saw their opponents climb right back into the series and go on to win it three times. That being said, we’re going to focus on that first statistic this time around.
Four is plenty: During the regular season, Michel Therrien’s troops managed to light the lamp at least four times in a given tilt 23 times. While that tally falls one short of affording the Bell Centre faithful the opportunity to indulge in eight free chicken wings at la Cage aux Sports, it’s a fairly precise indicator of something far more important to any Habs fan: a Canadiens victory. With a record of 22-0-1 in similar circumstances in 2013-14, the Canadiens have managed to translate that same success to the postseason by registering 5-4 and 4-1 victories over the Lightning in the first two games of the series.
Spreading things around: If you’re going to make noise in the playoffs, you’re going to need contributions from every player in uniform. That’s certainly been the case for the Canadiens in the early part of their series with the Lightning. Eight different players have accounted for the nine Habs goals thus far, with Rene Bourque being the lone player to beat Lightning netminders on more than one occasion. It’s also worth noting that 14 Canadiens skaters have already registered their name on the scoresheet at least once through two games.
Productive Patches: When power forward Max Pacioretty puts up points, the chances that the Canadiens will be congratulating their goaltender at the final buzzer to signify a win are usually quite good, and the Game 2 triumph over the Lightning was no exception. The Canadiens sniper picked up his first career playoff point and the Habs upped their record to 29-7-1 in 2013-14 when the New Canaan, CT native gets on the scoresheet.
Onward and upward: After registering just four points in his first 34 games in 2014, Lars Eller has been firing on all cylinders since the start of April. Not only did the 24-year-old Dane pick up three points in the final two games of the regular season, but he also collected three points during the first two games of the series against Tampa Bay to lead the Canadiens in that category heading into Game 3 in Montreal.