Five Keys to the Game: Habs-Rangers #2
Gretzky 101: The Great One once said that you miss 100 percent of the shots you never take. He was right. In 2013-14, the Canadiens posted a 5-10-1 record, including Saturday’s loss in Game 1, when they fired 22 shots or less on the opposing goaltender. When the Canadiens register 35 shots or more, however, the numbers suggest success is imminent. The Habs have a 12-2-1 record when they run up the shot total against the opposition.
Rest period: After some well-deserved rest on Sunday, Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist will most likely be back between the pipes for their respective teams on Monday night at the Bell Centre. In 2013-14, Price boasts a 15-8-2 record, a 2.27 GAA and a .930 save percentage when he enjoys a day off between starts. His Swedish counterpart holds a 15-13-2 record, a 2.37 GAA and a .921 save percentage under similar circumstances.
Starting the week off strong: Michel Therrien’s troops have avoided the Monday blues all season long. The Canadiens played six games on Mondays in 2013-14, posting a 5-1 record, outscoring their opponents 14-6 and registering two shutouts. For their part, the Rangers are 3-5-1 under similar circumstances this season.
Never two without three: On Monday night, the Canadiens will play their third game in team history on May 19. On both previous occasions, the Habs earned victories, downing the Rangers in 1979 before besting the Flames a decade later. Each time, the Canadiens earned 4-3 victories in overtime. History could very well repeat itself on Monday night, so stock your fridge because you could be up late.
In the beginning: The 2014 playoffs have shown time and again the importance of being the first team to get on the scoreboard in any given tilt. In the first 76 games of the NHL postseason thus far this year, the team that scored first has gone on to win 76 percent of the time. There’s no question that getting a jump on the opposition is a key to victory at a time of year when goals are increasingly hard to come by.