Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Bruins #7
To the Limit: Game 7. Habs vs. Bruins. Playoff hockey at its finest. For the eighth time in history, Montreal and Boston will meet up for an epic rubber match in the NHL postseason. Of those eight Game 7s, the Canadiens have come out on the winning end on five occasions. In franchise history, the Habs have played 22 Game 7s, winning 13 (59.1%) to move on to the next round or win the Cup. Boston has won 13 of 24 Game 7s all-time (54.2%), and the teams have split the decision in the last two Game 7 matchups, with Montreal winning 5-0 in 2008 and Boston winning 4-3 in overtime in 2011. Expect exciting playoff hockey at TD Garden for the tilt.
Follow the Captain: Brian Gionta knows the stakes of Wednesday’s game better than anyone in the Habs’ dressing room and he’ll be speaking from experience when he rallies the troops ahead of Game 7. The Canadiens’ captain has played in six Game 7s in his career with Montreal and New Jersey, owning a 4-2 record in those games.
Gate Keepers: As evidenced by his gold medal winning performance in Sochi in February, Carey Price is as clutch as they come when the stakes are at their highest. After posting his first shutout of the 2014 Playoffs in Game 6 against the Bruins, Price will get a chance to play his third career Game 7 on Wednesday night, carrying an incredible 1.91 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in those situations into TD Garden for the final game of the best-of-seven series against Boston.
Taking It to Them: Coming up short in the discipline department will likely burn any team come playoff time. The Canadiens’ power play units have proven that through six games against the Bruins, making Claude Julien’s troops pay for crossing the line seven times in 20 opportunities with the man advantage, or 35 percent of the time. P.K. Subban and Thomas Vanek have given their archrivals fits when the Canadiens are up a man, scoring three goals each on goaltender Tuukka Rask. While lighting the lamp on the power play doesn’t necessarily guarantee victory, it could very well be the difference-maker in a winner-take-all tilt like Game 7 where goals might be especially hard to come by at even-strength.
Give Max the Puck: If Max Pacioretty finds the back of the net in Game 7, there’s a good chance Michel Therrien & Co. will come out on top when the final buzzer sounds at TD Garden in Boston. The Canadiens boast a 25-1-2 record during the 2013-14 campaign – including a 2-0 record in the playoffs – when the power forward beats opposing netminders. That stat alone should have truckloads of Habs fans worldwide cheering on No. 67 in the decisive tilt of the series. Pacioretty was up to his old tricks again on Monday night, scoring a highlight-reel breakaway goal in Game 6 at the Bell Centre.